Seven suspected of recruiting militants arrested in Belgium


Belgian authorities arrested seven people today suspected of recruiting young Muslims in Brussels to join Islamic militants fighting in Africa, federal prosecutors said.

The investigation was triggered when a Belgian national was detained at the Somali border in August 2011 and found to be wanting to join Somalia’s al Shabaab militants.

The arrests of six people of Moroccan and African origin and one Belgian national followed house searches in several parts of Brussels, the prosecutors said.

The suspects were being questioned, a spokesman for the federal prosecution said, declining to give further details.

Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked group, still controls vast rural parts of Somalia, although they have lost their grip on major cities in the country after an African Union-led offensive allowed the central government to regain control.