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UPDATED: Two people killed in anti-terror operation in Belgium

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Update: 1:50 PM

REUTERS -Two people were killed during a Belgian police counter-terrorism operation in the town of Verviers on Thursday, local media said, raising concerns about security in Europe a week after Islamists killed 17 people in Paris.

Judiciary officials confirmed only that a counter-terrorism operation had taken place near the center of the town, in the east of the country between the city of Liege and the German border.

Public service radio RTBF said there were no casualties among the security forces involved. Two unidentified people were killed and a third seriously wounded. Several others were detained.

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RTBF said it was an operation intended to check on suspected radicals -- one of several being conducted against people believed to have returned to Belgium after taking part in the Syrian civil war.

Belgium has seen significant radical Islamist activity among its Muslim population. RTBF said police raids were also under way in Brussels. Belga news agency said police were hunting a man who witnesses said had brandished a weapon and shouted religious slogans in Arabic at a Brussels metro station.

Local media said gunshots and several explosions were heard on a residential street in Verviers near the railway station and one photo posted by a witness on Twitter showed police vehicles and ambulances blocking the street. Police had raided an apartment above the Croissant d'Or bakery, RTBF said.

In a report that could not be immediately confirmed, the Web site of La Meuse newspaper quoted an unidentified police officer saying: "We've averted a Belgian Charlie Hebdo."

Two French brothers, who like Coulibaly claimed allegiance to Islamist militants in the Middle East, killed 12 people last Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Per head of population, Belgium is the European country from where the highest number of citizens have taken part in fighting for the Syrian rebels in the past four years, data compiled by security researchers have shown.

Previously:

There have been reports of an anti-terrorism operation in Belgium that has allegedly lead to the death of several individuals.

From Reuters:

Belgian public television channel RTBF said on its website that it had reports of three people being killed during a police counter-terrorism raid in Verviers in the east of the country.

The Belga news agency quoted federal prosecutors saying there had been a police operation near the center of the town but did not confirm there had been casualties. Belga said there were several casualties and said police activity was continuing.

Stay with Metro for more updates as this situation unfolds.

 
 
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