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Terrorism & Security

Belgium charges six with connections to a terrorist group

A yearlong investigation led to the arrests and charges, which come amid an EU summit in Brussels. One suspect is believed to have been preparing for a suicide attack.

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Police uncovered information regarding the possible attack several days before taking action, reports the Financial Times. On Dec. 7, police intercepted a message in which suspects discussed "whether or not women and children should be evacuated."

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According to CNN, the arrested suspects include Malika El-Aroud, a female Al Qaeda champion who posts extremist screeds online under the pseudonym Oum Obeyda. Ms. El-Aroud is also the widow of one of the men who assassinated a key opponent of the Taliban in Afghanistan two days before September 11, 2001.

El-Aroud's late husband was one of two men who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, a leader of the Northern Alliance, in a suicide mission ordered by Osama Bin Laden.
Belgian police aimed to prevent El-Aroud, whom the police source called an "al-Qaeda living legend," from moving to Afghanistan to play a role in the fight against the coalition forces there, the source said.

El-Aroud's current husband, Moez Garsalloui, is also believed to have been arrested, reports the International Herald Tribune.

Garsalloui was released in July 2007 after serving three weeks for promoting violence and then disappeared.
Belgian officials said he fled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and [Claude Moniquet, chairman of the European Strategic Intelligence & Security Center, a research organization in Brussels] said that Garsalloui was one of the three people arrested whom prosecutors said had recently returned from training camps along the Pakistani-Afghan border.
A fourth suspect was tracked to South Asia but has not yet returned, the officials said.

Police sources told CNN that all of the detained suspects are of Moroccan descent and that most carry Belgian passports.

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