One 'far-right suspect killed' in Belgian police swoop

The 36-year-old man died from a police bullet during a swoop on an address in Antwerp, officials say

A police cordon where the shooting happened in Merksem, Antwerp. AFP
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A man has been killed in a police shoot-out after officers carried out raids on a far-right group believed to be planning a terrorist attack, Belgian prosecutors said.

Police were shot at as they entered a house in Antwerp, one of 12 raids across the city and in Ghent, prosecutors added.

They believed the group wanted “to mount a form of armed resistance against the government”.

The 36-year-old man died from a police bullet during a swoop on an address in the Merksem suburb, officials said.

When federal police officers entered the house, prosecutors said: “Shots were returned, hitting the occupant.”

Prosecutors said “many weapons and ammunition” were seized in the raids. Some, but not all, of the weapons were legally registered, they said.

The 36-year-old man died from a police bullet during a swoop on an address in the Merksem suburb, officials said. AFP

They added that the suspects had no definite target nor date for action.

According to VRT media, the man who was shot dead was a gold and silver trader who collected weapons and military items.

Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said he had expressed on social media his appetite for far-right theories and his opposition to the Belgian government’s measures during the coronavirus crisis.

He also criticised the strategy of the United States, Nato and Europe in dealing with Russia.

The incident is not thought to be linked to threats made against Belgium’s justice minister, who has been under strict protection since four people, suspected of taking part in a plot by alleged drug criminals to kidnap him, were arrested in the Netherlands.

Belgian authorities have stepped up their surveillance of extreme-right suspects since the country was rocked by the case of radicalised soldier, Jurgen Conings, last year.

He sparked a month-long manhunt after he went missing with military weapons and threatened to target state officials and a high-profile virologist.

His body was later found in a forest after he shot himself dead.

Last weekend, four Dutch suspects were arrested over an alleged plan to kidnap Belgium's justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne. He blamed the alleged plot on drug traffickers.

Updated: September 28, 2022, 6:14 PM
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