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Officers injured in counter-terror raid in Brussels

Posted on 15th March 2016 at 16:50pm

March 15: Belgian security forces are hunting for at least two men after shots were fired at police during a counter-terrorism raid in the capital, Brussels. The raid is linked to the Paris attacks which killed 130 people last November.

The central police station near the Grand Place/Grote Markt in Brussels, December 2015, after two suspects thought to have been involved in the Paris terrorist attacks were arrested. Despite police requests, news outlets are widely showing imagery of the current operations today (Nicolas Maeterlink/Rex)

Three officers were reportedly hurt, one of them seriously. Streets in the suburb of Forest have been sealed off. A BBC reporter at the scene says there has been more gunfire subsequently.

Police said they were pursuing at least two suspects who had escaped over rooftops. Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor, told AFP news agency that: "Police were fired at" during the raid on Tuesday afternoon. He added that the raid was: "linked to the Paris attacks investigation.”

A major police operation is now under way, with a helicopter flying overhead.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas at the scene says the whole area is flooded with police, with every access road being blocked. He says the operation appears to be focusing on Rue de la Station road.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that French police officers were also taking part in the Brussels raid.

Local resident Surya Jonckheere told the BBC there was a lot of confusion in the area. "The police are just saying something's happened on the road. They're focused on that rather than telling people what's going on," she said.

Since the November 13, 2016, attacks, officials have identified most of the people they believe to have carried out the assaults.

Most of the suspects have either died during the attacks or been killed in later police raids. But two suspects – Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini – are still on the run.

In addition, 11 people have been arrested and charged in Belgium in connection with the killings. Another eight are still in detention.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2016 BBC

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