In a statement that they made yesterday, Belgian prosecutors said that three people arrested on Thursday night in the vicinity of Brussels for questioning related to terrorism have been released.
A spokesman for the prosecutors told Agence France Press (AFP) that the three suspects who were identified as Wassime A., Asma A. and Malika B. “were detained” so that they could be questioned about an “important” issue. However, he did not provide any “other information or further details”.
The statement also mentioned that the three suspects were arrested after police carried out eight raids on Wednesday night that were ordered by a judge investigating terrorism cases and that “No weapons or explosions were found”.
Since the attacks that took place on the 13th of November 2015 in Paris which were planned in Belgium and carried out by extremists, Belgian police are still on alert and have carried out dozens of raids to combat terrorism.
On his part, the Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said that leaders of regional police administrations have yet to decide whether police officers will be able to keep their weapons outside of their working hours. Jambon was responding to the criticism directed at him by parties that are part of the coalition government after he promised leaders of the police union during a meeting on Wednesday that police officers would be protected. The promise was made in light of the machete attack on two female police officers in Charleroi last Saturday. The minister also promised to speed up procedures concerning the purchase of heavy weapons and bullets for the police at the meeting.
According to local media, the minister is trying to avoid police unions organising strikes. Frankie Damon, a parliamentarian and a member of the Christian Democratic Party, commented on the outcome of the meeting by saying that leaders of police units know the most about the officers that work with them and are able to determine who should be allowed to carry heavy weapons outside working hours.
The Minister of Interior’s office said that the decision is still in the hands of leaders of the local police administrations. The office also noted that it is difficult to make quick decisions that affect all of these administrations. He emphasized that there are no plans to increase these administrations but efforts are being made to increase coordination between them.
Following a meeting between the minister with the leaders of the terrorist risk analysis centre and federal and local police, Interior Minister Jan Jambon said in a televised statement that “Charleroi is an isolated case and the Coordinating Unit for Threat Analysis has not provided any information to justify an increase in the security level for members of the police force. There is no justification for raising the security level to the third level for all police officers. Two female police officers from Charleroi were attacked with a machete last Saturday and were seriously injured. According to local media reports, the attack raised questions about the protection that police should benefit from.