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Suspected terror cell linked to Paris attacks leader on trial in Brussels

Under heavy security, a trial has begun in Belgium of a suspected extremist cell linked to the ringleader of last year's terror attacks in Paris.

Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused said on Monday that their clients had done nothing illegal.

Belgian police stormed the plotters' suspected hideout in Verviers in January 2015, killing two men and capturing a third.

According to Belgian officials, the suspects were being directed by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was hunted down by French police and killed days after the November 13 attacks in Paris in which 130 people died.

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