BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – Fourteen Muslim extremists were detained Friday on allegations they sought to free an al-Qaida sympathizer imprisoned for planning a terrorist attack on U.S. air base personnel, Belgian authorities said. Security was heightened across the capital, at airports and subway stations out of precaution, officials said. “Other acts of violence are not to be excluded,” Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said. He said authorities had “elements of information which point to the preparation of an attack.”
Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman of the federal prosecutor’s office, said security also was being stepped up at Christmas markets.
“Since it could not be excluded that the group had other plans and because of the heightened terror threat this time of year, it was decided no risk should be taken,” Pellens said.
The suspects sought to free Nizar Trabelsi, a 37-year-old Tunisian who played soccer for several German teams and who was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison four years ago, authorities said.
He had admitted planning to drive a car bomb into the canteen at Kleine Brogel, a Belgian air base where about 100 American military personnel are stationed and where U.S. nuclear weapons are believed to be stored.
Trabelsi testified that he intended kill American soldiers.
UPDATE: It appears authorities found nothing….. they are now all released. More at Little Green Footballs on the Belgian catch and release program.
Hats off to the authorities in Brussells for a job well done!