Those targeted in the sweeps were suspected of planning a possible attack in Belgium, the prosecutors said in a statement. Others were suspected of involvement in recruiting for an alleged Chechen terror organization, it said.
The arrests were not linked to the recent reports of possible terrorist attacks in Germany, said Judith Sluiter, a spokeswoman for the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
Ten homes were searched in the three nations on Tuesday morning, and 10 suspects of Belgian, Dutch, Moroccan or Russian nationality were detained, the statement said. They follow arrests in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia related to this investigation.
The Belgian prosecutors said “there was talk of plans for an attack in Belgium by an international jihadist organization” which uses the website Ansar al Mujahideen. The place of the alleged attack had not been specified, the statement said.
The police also targeted “the recruiters, candidate jihadists and financing” for the Caucasus Emirate, which groups insurgents who seek to establish and Islamic emirate in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. Its leader is Chechen rebel Doku Umarov.
Germany’s Federal Criminal Police confirmed that one person was arrested near Aachen at the request of Belgian authorities, in connection with suspicion of recruiting young men in Belgium to fight in Chechnya.
In a statement, Dutch prosecutors said they had detained three men aged 25, 26 and 28 in Amsterdam at the request of Belgian authorities on suspicion of involvement in international terrorism.
The Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office said Austria was also involved in the action.
Pictures of VTM television showed heavily armed police making a dawn raid in Belgium’s northern port of Antwerp and detaining at least two people, including a woman.
Dutch authorities said Belgium had asked for the extradition of the three suspects arrested in Amsterdam.
Associated Press writers Mike Corder contributed from The Hague, Jim Heintz from Moscow and Melissa Eddy from Berlin.