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January 2015 anti-terrorism operations in Belgium

On 15 January 2015, Belgian police carried out a raid on premises in Verviers, Belgium. According to news sources, the raids were an anti-terrorist operation against Islamist radicals.[1][2]

2015 anti-terrorism operations in Belgium
Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe (2014–present)
Province de Liège in Belgium.svg
Location of the province of Liège within Belgium
LocationVerviers, Liège, Belgium
Coordinates50°35′23″N 5°51′47″E / 50.589818°N 5.862967°E / 50.589818; 5.862967Coordinates: 50°35′23″N 5°51′47″E / 50.589818°N 5.862967°E / 50.589818; 5.862967
Date15 January 2015
Attack type
Police raid
Deaths2 suspects
1 suspect



Two suspects died in the raids, which involved heavy gunfire, with a third being seriously wounded.[2][3][4][failed verification]

Other operations were carried out in Brussels and the nearby communes of Schaerbeek, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Vilvoorde, and Zaventem.[5] An armed man was reported to have been arrested in Brussels.[5]

The Belgian prosecutor's office stated that the raids were an operation against a jihadist terrorist cell,[6][7] reportedly believed to have links to ISIS,[8] on the verge of committing a terrorist attack.[9]

Police are investigating the possibility of links to the Charlie Hebdo shooting in neighbouring France.[10] The men killed in the raid, Redouane Hagaoui and Tarik Jadaoun, were alleged by police to have been planning to attack sellers of the "survivors' issue" of Charlie Hebdo released following the attack in Paris.[11]


On 17 January 2015, the Belgian government began a deployment of troops throughout Belgium to defend potential terrorist targets.[12][13]

Verviers terror cell trialEdit

A trial against 16 members of the terrorist cell dismantled in Verviers began in 2016. Nine of the defendants were still at large and tried in absentia, including two Belgian, five French, one Moroccan and one Dutch national, who were thought to be fighting for the ISIL in Syria, to be in hiding or to be deceased. Belgian police said the group was on the verge of a coordinated attack of killing police officers in public roads and in police stations, and police had found "Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives, ammunition and communications equipment – along with police uniforms that could have been used for the plot" during the raids.[14][15]

The cell was found to have been led by Abdelhamid Abaaoud via telephone from Athens, who evaded capture in the Greek capital. A member of the Brussels ISIL terror cell, he later had a leading role in the November 2015 Paris attacks.[16]

In 2016, members of the cell were sentenced to between 8 and 16 years imprisonment.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers 'leaves two dead'". BBC News. 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Belgian counterterrorism raid in Verviers leaves 2 dead, report says". CBC News. 15 January 2015.
  3. ^ Bruno Waterfield (15 January 2015). "Casualties in Belgium police anti-terror raid in Verviers". The Daily Telegraph.
  4. ^ "Politie schiet twee terreurverdachten dood in Verviers, verschillende invallen in ons land". newsmonkey (in Dutch). 15 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Opérations anti-djihadistes en Belgique: deux morts (vidéos et direct)" (in French). Le Soir. 15 January 2015.
  6. ^ James Kanter (15 January 2015). "At Least 2 Killed in Antiterror Raid by the Belgian Police". New York Times.
  7. ^ "Belgique: opération contre un groupe jihadiste prêt à commettre un attentat, deux morts". (in French). 15 January 2015.
  8. ^ Mariano Castillo (15 January 2015). "Report: Two killed in Belgian anti-terror operation". CNN.
  9. ^ "Belgium police kill two that authorities claim were on verge of terrorist attack". Irish Times.
  10. ^ Andy Lines (15 January 2015). "Verviers: Three terrorists killed in Belgium after police swoop on address following tip-off". Daily Mirror.
  11. ^ Bruno Waterfield (16 January 2015). "Belgian terrorist cell 'linked to targeting of news agents selling Charlie Hebdo'". Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ "Belgium deploys troops following anti-terror raids". BBC News. 17 January 2015.
  13. ^ Lasoen, Kenneth (2017). "Indications and warning in Brussels. Brussels is not Delphi". Journal of Strategic Studies. 40. doi:10.1080/01402390.2017.1288111.
  14. ^ "Trial of Verviers terror cell suspects opens in Brussels". France 24. AFP. 9 May 2016.
  15. ^ 7"Belgium puts Verviers terror cell suspects on trial". BBC News. 9 May 2016.
  16. ^ Morris, Chris (8 December 2015). "Paris attacks 'ringleader' Abdelhamid Abaaoud evaded Athens police". BBC News. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Belgium convicts Verviers cell of forming terror organization". Deutche Welle. AFP, Reuters. 5 July 2016.