Belgian police have arrested two members of a notorious biker gang previously accused of Islamist sympathies on suspicion of planning a terror attack over the New Year.
“Military-type training uniforms, IS propaganda material and computer equipment” were found when police raided locations in Brussels, Liege in the east of the country and Flemish Brabant, the prosecutor’s office said.
The statement did not give the names of the two men arrested, who are due to appear in court on Thursday, identifying them only as “Said S. and Mohammed K.”.
However, the pair were said to be members of a biker club known as the “Kamikaze Riders MC”, and “Said S.” was named in local media as Said Saouti, one of the gang’s co-founders.
He was described last year, in an article on the phenomenon of radical biker gangs by a Dutch police specialist, as having both a criminal past in burglary and arms offences and also to be an active Salafi preacher. He had named the prominent al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki as his “teacher”.
The gang is one of a number of biker groups that operate on the fringes of ethnic and religious minority life in both Belgium and Holland, and has branches in both countries. Its founders were of Moroccan origin, with Saouti apparently born in the Dutch town of Anderlecht.