Belgium charges four after nationwide anti-terror raids

Four people arrested Friday in raids across Belgium aimed at smashing jihadist recruitment groups have been charged with "participating in the activities of a terrorist group", the federal prosecutor`s office said.

Brussels: Four people arrested Friday in raids across Belgium aimed at smashing jihadist recruitment groups have been charged with "participating in the activities of a terrorist group", the federal prosecutor`s office said.

The four suspects arrested in a nationwide swoop involving around 170 police were remanded in custody after appearing before an investigating magistrate, the prosecutor`s office added.

Their identities were not disclosed.

The raids on 22 locations, mainly in the eastern Limburg province, close to the border with the Netherlands, turned up no weapons.

The prosecutor said the operation was not related to an anti-terrorism raid earlier this month aimed at foiling a plot to kill police officers, in which two suspected militants were shot dead.

It also had "no link" to January 7-9 attacks by Islamist extremists in Paris, they said.

"This case concerns people who want to go to Syria and fight there," the prosecutor`s office said.

Belgium has been on high alert since the January 15 uncovering of a cell that was plotting attacks on police on the street and in stations.

The group`s suspected mastermind -- Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian jihadist who allegedly fought alongside the Islamic State group in Syria -- is still at large.