At the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels, federal magistrates Eric Van Der Sypt, left, and Thierry Werts address the media on the anti-terror raids in several Belgian cities Friday. Photo by AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

A major jihadi plot to kill police officers was foiled in the nick of time, prosecutors said, after counterterrorism raids led to the arrest of 15 suspects in Belgium and France.

During those raids, two suspected terrorists were shot dead by police and another was wounded in the Belgian town of Verviers. Authorities said they had moved to dismantle an active terror cell spanning Belgium and France, and that the cell intended to attack police officers and buildings in Belgium.

The Guardian reports:

Eric van der Sypt, a Belgian federal magistrate, said 13 suspected terrorists were arrested in Belgium overnight with a further two detained in France. Nine of the suspects were held in raids in Molenbeek, two in Brussels, one in Berchem, one in Verviers, where the shootout took place, and two in France.

All three Verviers gunmen were Belgian nationals and are thought to have belonged to a homegrown cell of jihadis that recently returned from Syria. Van der Sypt added that officers were still working to formally identify the two gunmen killed in the shootout.

… Van der Sypt said there was no link between events in Verviers and last week’s terror attacks in Paris but revealed that an atrocity on a similar scale had been averted at the last minute.

Read more here.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.    

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