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Man arrested in Belgium charged with terrorist activities following raids

A soldier patrols in an empty shopping galery as the Belgian capital remains on the highest possible alert level
A soldier patrols in an empty shopping galery as the Belgian capital remains on the highest possible alert level

Belgian authorities have charged a fourth suspect with terrorism offences after the arrests of 16 people on Sunday.

The federal prosecutor said in a statement that the suspect, who was not identified, was charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group and a terrorist attack", referring to the November 13 assault on Paris.

Authorities charged three others with similar offences last week.

The other 15 people detained on Sunday evening have been released.

Raids across the Belgian capital on Sunday capped a tense day with hundreds of troops patrolling the streets and authorities hunting suspected extremists, including Salah Abdeslam, a fugitive since being named as a key suspect in the Paris attacks.

The Belgian government chose to keep Brussels on the highest state of alert into the start of the working week after what it described as a "serious and imminent" threat.

They announced that schools and subways in Brussels will reopen on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said that 19 raids were carried out on Sunday in Molenbeek - home to many of the Paris attackers - and other boroughs of Brussels, while there were three raids in Charleroi.

Abdeslam was not among those arrested. Mr Van Der Sypt added that no firearms or explosives were found in the raids.

Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon said Abdeslam "must have a lot of support on our territory. That's why all these searches being conducted at the moment are important".

In one incident, police fired two shots at a car that approached them as they searched a snack bar in Molenbeek, Mr Van Der Sypt said.

The vehicle escaped but was stopped later in Brussels, and a wounded person inside was arrested.

Several of the Paris attackers lived in Brussels, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the plot's orchestrator who was killed on Wednesday in a stand-off with French police.