Belgian Police Carry Out Multiple Raids In Europe’s ‘Jihadi Capital’

REUTERS/Eric Vidal

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Police detained three people Saturday during a large counter-terror raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek.

Armed police closed off a large section in the area and stormed several properties as part of an ongoing investigation. Police didn’t confiscate any weapons and the three men were released Sunday morning.

“The searches were carried out as part of an investigation by Brussels prosecutors,” spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch said Saturday. “While nothing was found, three people were taken in for questioning.”

Molenbeek was home to several suspects behind the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels last March. The area has become known as Europe’s “jihadi capital” and has a link to nearly every major attack on the west since the turn of the century. (RELATED: How Brussels Became The Jihadi Capital Of Europe)

Police in in the area collectively called in sick Jan. 6 in protest of long working hours and a shortage of 40 officers. The strike is part of an ongoing dispute since anti-terror measures were increased in 2015.

“They are talking about an overload of work, which I can understand. Things have not been easy neither in 2015 nor in 2016,” Johan De Becker, the head of the Brussels West police area that includes Molenbeek, told Reuters.

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