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Europe

Belgian police question, release five in Paris attacks probe

© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP file picture| Soldiers patrol at the Grand Place square, in Brussels, on November 24, 2015, as the Belgian capital remains on its highest security alert following the Paris attacks

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-12-22

A Belgian judge on Monday released five people, including two brothers, without charge after they were arrested in a series of raids in connection with last month's Paris attacks, prosecutors said Monday.

Police arrested the two brothers and a third person in a house raid in the centre of the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Sunday, while two others were detained in a separate search in a suburb on Monday, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The prosecutor's office, without giving details, said an analysis of phone records led to Sunday's search. Authorities said they found no weapons or explosives at either residence, and didn't identify those detained.

After a "thorough interrogation" by federal judicial police, the investigating judge ordered the release of all five of the detained, the prosecutor's office said. Eight other people detained earlier in Belgium in connection with the November 13 attacks in the French capital remain in preventive custody.

"The investigation will continue unabated," a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

Police are still on the hunt for fugitive Salah Abdeslam, who is one of Europe's most wanted men over his alleged involvement in the November 13 attacks that left 130 dead in Paris.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Twenty-six-year-old, Brussels-born Abdeslam, suspected of having played a key role in the Paris attacks, is understood to have returned to the Belgian capital the day after the bloodshed.
An international arrest warrant is out on Abdeslam, who lived in Molenbeek, where some of the weekend raids took place.

A source close to the Belgian investigation told AFP on Sunday that Abdeslam made it past three police checks when friends drove him from Paris to Brussels in the hours after the coordinated gun and suicide attacks.

Last week, a European Union summit resolved to continue the bloc's effort against violent extremism, and called for wide-ranging measures including systematic checks on people crossing Europe's external frontiers.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-12-21

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