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Two men arrested in Brussels for links to Paris attacks

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 9:49 AM

BRUSSELS, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Two men allegedly connected to November's Islamic State attacks in Paris were arrested in Brussels as the city's police force faces an unrelated torture investigation.

Zakaria J., a Belgian national, was arrested in a raid Wednesday in the Molenbeek Brussels district. Mustafa E., a Moroccan national, was arrested Thursday morning, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Both were arrested due to their possible ties with different suspects in this case," the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The Islamic State launched a series of coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, killing at least 130 people. The assault led to a massive manhunt in Paris and in Belgium, where many of the suspects lived -- particularly in Molenbeek.

News of the arrests come as police in Brussels face an investigation over an allegation of torture brought forward by Elliot Meredith, a British student.

Meredith, who is taking part in an internship in Brussels, said he was "violently arrested" Sunday morning while ordering take-out food after a night out, stating he was "systematically physically and mentally abused over a two hour period before being released without even being questioned or charged with a crime" at Brussels' Saint-Gilles police station.

"I thought I was going to die," Meredith wrote in a Facebook post.

Police said Meredith was detained during an intervention for disturbing the peace. Jennifer Vanderputten, spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecutor, said Meredith is accused of striking a policeman who was unable to work for four days.

The Belgian prosecutor opened two investigations: one into Meredith's torture allegation and one into the police allegation that Meredith assaulted an officer.

I never thought it would be me to write a status like this.After a work night out whilst ordering food in a take-away...

Posted by Elliot James Meredith on Monday, January 18, 2016
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