To kill time, I started watching the sixth season of 24. All about Muslim 'terrorists' threatening the US with suicide bombings and other acts of violence. Sounds interesting albeit it on the exaggerating side slightly. During a pause from the non-stop TV watch my eye fell on this news flash, just in. I just couldn't believe it was happening. See for yourselves.
BRUSSELS — Belgian authorities detained 14 people they described as Islamic extremists on Friday, saying they had uncovered a plot to use explosives to free an Al Qaeda sympathizer jailed for planning to attack an American air base.
The Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, said in a statement, “Other acts of violence are not ruled out.”
The authorities put the capital, Brussels, on a high state of alert, increasing security at main train stations, the airport and major public places where people were gathering to do their Christmas shopping.
The arrests came after the police raided 15 locations, most of them in Brussels, seizing explosives and arms.
Those detained were suspected of planning to try to break into a prison to free Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian former pro soccer player who was arrested days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, in connection with a plot to drive a car bomb into an American air base in northeast Belgium. Mr. Trabelsi was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The authorities did not offer any evidence or details about their suspicions, or name the prison where Mr. Trabelsi was being held. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Peter Mertens, said the convict was “moved regularly.”
Europe is already on a state of alert because of the Christmas holidays, and the Algerian bombings last week, which killed dozens in the capital, Algiers. France and Belgium share concerns of terrorist threats from extremists among their Muslim populations.
On Thursday, the French police said they were holding five men believed to be members of a logistical support cell for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Agence France-Presse reported. That group is a longstanding terrorist network, previously called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which changed its name after affiliating with Osama bin Laden’s network this year.