12 detained in probe into Antwerp grenade attacks and shootings

Twelve suspects have been detained in and around Antwerp in the course of raids on 24 properties this morning.  Those detained are suspected of involvement in grenade and petrol bomb attacks, shootings, arson and threatening port workers.

Premises in the City of Antwerp, Borgerhout, Borsbeek, Essen, Wilrijk and Wijnegem were all searched as well as an address in Lokeren (East Flanders) and Antwerp and Mechelen jails. Eleven men aged 19 to 41 and one minor were detained.  Five encrypted telephones were also seized.

130 officers from Antwerp police supported by federal units and the dog brigade took part. Information gleaned after detectives gained access to messages transmitted using encrypted telephones marketed by Sky ECC triggered today’s operation. Antwerp prosecutors say that thanks to access to a billion messages those directing organised crime in the city are being identified.  Many grew up in Antwerp, but have now chosen to live outside the city proper.

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