Belgian Police Find Weapons in Flat Amid 'European Commission Bomb Plot' Fears

Security on European Commission premises has been increased on the security monitor's request Yves Herman/Reuters

Belgian police have discovered weapons and bomb parts inside the flat of two recently arrested Islamist militants today, who were reportedly plotting an attack on the European Commission building. A third accomplice is on the run from police.

Belgium's Federal Police said that they arrested the couple, Dutch nationals of Turkish descent, after mounting evidence of their "participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist financing and breaches gun laws".

According to Dutch media, the couple, affiliated with the Islamist group Sharia4Belgium, were a plotting an attack on the European Commission building, although a police spokesman could not confirm this.

"There is as yet no serious evidence that this incident may be associated with a very concrete plan for a bombing," a statement from the Belgian Federal Prosecutor, said, adding the two still enjoy "the presumption of innocence" as investigations continue.

The couple were initially arrested on their arrival in Brussels on August 7 from Syria, via Turkey.

Belgian newspaper Het Laaste Niews originally reported that a ready-made bomb had been found, leading with the headline "the bomb was ready", but the Federal Prosecutor's office later denied this, saying the search of the apartment had not yielded an explosive per se.

"However, materials were encountered that could be used for potential construction of a turnkey jump harness," frequently use in assembling bombs, a statement by the prosecutor's office read.

The incident has prompted European commissioner Maros Šefčovič, to call for increased security on European Commission premises, though he has denied the organisation has received any threats.

According to Belgian newspaper L'Echo "around 400 Belgian nationals have gone to Syria to fight and around 90 have returned" with several being arrested as the government continues investigating terrorist threats linked to Islamic State.