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Belgium detains 8 suspected of recruiting Syria extremists

Belgian police detained eight people on Tuesday suspected of recruiting extremists to fight in Syria and raising funds for ISIS

Published: Updated:

Belgian police detained eight people on Tuesday suspected of recruiting extremists to fight in Syria and raising funds for ISIS, federal prosecutors said.

The prosecutor’s office said the eight were detained following raids on nine homes in the Dutch-speaking towns of Antwerp, Bruges and Sint-Niklaas as well as the Brussels commune of Schaerbeek.

“Eight persons have been taken along for examination,” it said, adding a judge would decide later whether or not to detain them further.

“The persons concerned are suspected to be involved with recruiting people to leave for Syria and with having financially supported ISIS,” it said.

Belgium is the EU country with the highest per capita number of fighters who have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a figure estimated at 465.

No weapons nor explosives were found in the raids.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers struck Brussels airport and a metro station near the European Union headquarters on March 22, killing 32 people.

Those attacks were claimed by ISIS, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria and has claimed numerous terror strikes in Europe over the last year, including attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead.