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Belgian police launch raids in hunt for Paris attacker

Published 19/11/2015

Bilal Hadfi has been identified as one of three attackers at the Stade de France (AP)
Bilal Hadfi has been identified as one of three attackers at the Stade de France (AP)

Authorities in Belgium have launched six raids in the Brussels region linked to Paris suicide bomber Bilal Hadfi.

An official in the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said the raids were taking place in Molenbeek and other areas of the capital.

Hadfi has been identified as one of three attackers at the Stade de France stadium on Friday. The raids are centring on "his entourage", the official said.

Earlier Belgian prime minister Charles Michel announced a package of additional anti-terror measures in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

He said 400 million euros (£280 million) would be earmarked to expand the anti-terror fight, and added he wants to amend the constitution to extend the length of time terror suspects can be held by police without charge.

"All democratic forces have to work together to strengthen our security," Mr Michel told legislators in a special announcement.

He said personnel involved in security would be increased, and special attention would be paid to eradicating messages of hate.

Mr Michel also affirmed that Belgium would move forward alone on a system of airline passenger information sharing that European Union nations have been incapable of agreeing in four years.

"The risk before us is the collapse of the entire European project if we don't take our responsibilities," he told politicians.

He dismissed criticism of Belgian police, saying they had provided vital information that led to a major police raid in the northern Paris suburb of Saint Denis on Wednesday.

Some 500 people are on Belgium's list of "radicalised" people, and about 30 people are known to have travelled to Syria as potential foreign fighters in the Molenbeek neighbourhood, a major source of extremists.

Mr Michel said he would introduce a system for people considered a threat that would "impose the wearing of an electronic bracelet".

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