Report: Belgian Police Mount Raid South of Brussels

Mosque powder scare in the capital turns out to be false alarm.

Belgium police officers patrol the Grand Place in central Brussels, November 24, 2015.
AP

REUTERS - Belgian federal police mounted a raid on Thursday in a small town south of Brussels linked to fears of a militant attack, public broadcaster RTBF said, adding that officers were looking for weapons and explosives.

RTBF said the information came from federal prosecutors.

A local police official in Sambreville told Reuters by telephone that an operation had been concluded but declined to say what the aim of it had been. A local government official referred all inquiries to the federal prosecutor in Brussels who is handling inquiries into the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

Federal police and prosecutors had no immediate comment.

The raid was in Auvelais, part of the commune of Sambreville, the Belgian media reports said.

Meanwhile, fire crews and decontamination teams attended a major mosque in Brussels close to the European Union headquarters on Thursday to investigate a suspect powder that police later said turned out to be flour. 

Reuters journalists saw about a dozen emergency vehicles, including police, outside the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium, a large Saudi-established institution including a mosque situated 200 meters from the European Commission.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said it had taken a call from the mosque from a person saying they believed that they had found anthrax powder, prompting the deployment of specialist crews.