Anti-Terrorism Raid in Belgium Kills Two Suspected Jihadists

Police investigate a shootout in a street in Verviers, Belgium, on January 15, 2015.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

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Police investigate a shootout in a street in Verviers, Belgium, on January 15, 2015.

Two suspected jihadists killed by Belgian police in the city of Verviers were part of a group that was allegedly planning to commit a large terror attack. By Dashiell Bennett

Police in Verviers, Belgium, say that two suspected terrorists have been killed and a third wounded, following an anti-terror operation that ended in a shootout. Several other people have also been arrested. No police officers were injured.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto reports that the operation began as an “inspection” of suspected radical Islamists, but erupted into a firefight when the suspects opened fire on police. Witnesses reported heavy gunfire and some explosions on a residential street. An eyewitness video posted on YouTube, appears to show the building where the incident took place on fire, as gunshots and shouting can be heard in the background.

A second Paris has been avoided,” a ministry of justice source told Belgium’s Nieuwsblad newspaper, according to The Telegraph  .

The suspects had recently returned from Syria, and were planning a major terror operation in Belgium, according to statements by police. The group had been under surveillance for several weeks.

The danger of returning fighters is a problem of growing concern in Belgium and other parts of Europe. Last May , a French national who had spent more than a year fighting with ISIS in Syria, murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels . Former hostages of the jihadist group identified the man as one of their captors.

The news comes less than a week after the Charlie Hebdo murders and a day after a man was arrested in Brussels for allegedly selling weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen in the Paris attacks, according to The Guardian . A more explicit connection between the incidents has not been made.

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