Belgian police on Thursday arrested 17 suspects in an alleged plot by right-wing extremists to terrorize the country.
Many of those arrested were soldiers, and some were “people with an extreme-right ideology who clearly express themselves through racism, xenophobia, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The arrests came after a two-year investigation by authorities into extreme right elements in the army. Raids of army barracks and private homes uncovered explosives, weapons and ultra-right propaganda.
“There was no evidence of an imminent attack,” Belgium’s federal prosecutor said, “but from the documents the authorities seized it was clear that the group wanted to attack the structure and institutions of the state”.
“We found an enormous amount of ammunition. All manner of weapons from hunting rifles to military guns, detonators and above all extreme right and even neo-nazi propaganda,” the prosecutor added.
Police said the suspects may have been members of the Flanders branch of the international neo-Nazi network “Blood and Honor,” and said the raids foiled a violent plot that was in the making. The ringleader, a soldier, is thought to have been planning to move the plot into action.