Belgium Charges Four With Terrorism in IS Recruitment Probe

Belgian authorities accused four suspects of recruiting fighters for Islamic State in a probe that is not directly linked to the March 22 attacks in Brussels.

Two of the suspects remain in custody, one of whom under electronic surveillance, and two others were released with strict conditions, the federal prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.

They are suspected of trying to recruit individuals to travel to conflict zones in Syria or Libya, the prosecutor said. Some of them were planning to go themselves and join Islamic State, according to the statement.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 that killed 32 people at the airport and a downtown subway station. In response to criticism over intelligence lapses before the attacks, Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said last month that the government increased terrorism convictions to 115 in 2015 -- more than double the prior year.

The prosecutor’s office said the probe also revealed the suspects may have been plotting an attack somewhere in Belgium, even as no weapons or explosives were found during eight searches in Ternat, Antwerp and Borgerhout.

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