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Belgium launches probe and arrests suspects linked to Paris terrorist attacks

Hendrik Devriendt, Belga, AFP | Police conduct a raid on the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels

The Belgian prosecutor's office opened an anti-terrorism investigation Saturday into the Paris attacks that killed 129 people following arrests in a Brussels neighbourhood.

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The investigations are linked to a car hired in Belgium and subsequently found near the Bataclan concert hall where 89 people were killed by terrorists in Paris on Friday, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Several people were arrested in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels during police raids connected to the Paris attacks, said Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens.

The media reported that at least five people were arrested during the raids, but the number was not officially confirmed.

In an interview with the Belgian public broadcaster RTBF TV station, Greens said the arrests "can be seen in connection with a grey Volkswagen Polo car rented in Belgium" and found near the Bataclan concert hall.

Arrest at border

At a press briefing in the French capital on Saturday evening, Paris prosecutor François Molins said one person who hired the Volkswagen Polo used in the attacks was stopped at the Belgian border. Molins said that the suspect is a French national.

According to Belgian media reports, parking tickets from Molenbeek were found inside the car, which had Belgian number plates.

RTBF earlier reported up to three separate police raids in connection with the Paris attacks. Its website ran a photograph of the police escorting a handcuffed man wearing what appeared to be a black blindfold.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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