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Belgian police arrest 12 suspected of planning new attacks

Belgian raids and arrests come as Europe is on high alert with the Euro 2016 football tournament underway in neighbouring France
Police escort Paris attacks, Belgian-born suspect Salah Abdeslam to a French prison in April (AFP)

Twelve people suspected of planning to carry out attacks were arrested in Belgium on Friday night after police carried out dozens of raids across the country, federal prosecutors said on Saturday.

The arrests come as the Euro 2016 football tournament, being held in France, has put Europe on high alert, and also only a few months after 32 people were killed in suicide bombings in Brussels in March and 130 were killed in coordinated attacks in Paris in November.

The Islamic State miliant group claimed responsibility for both attacks and investigators have found links between the assailants of both incidents.

Flemish commercial broadcaster VTM reported that the raids were connected to a threat linked to Belgium's Euro 2016 game against Ireland scheduled for 3pm (1300 GMT) Saturday in Bordeaux, France.

The channel said the threat was against targets in Belgium, possibly fans watching the game on television in crowded places.

The overnight raids in Brussels took place in 16 municipalities across the country and "passed off without incident," the prosecutors said in a statement. 

Among the areas searched, including several linked to the November and March attacks, were 152 garage lockups, they said. No arms or explosives have been found, they said, but but declined to identify seized items.

Following the raids, the prosecutors said 40 people were taken in for questioning, 12 of whom were arrested but have not been identified.

A judge will decide later whether to detain those who have been arrested, none of whom have been named.

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