Extremist cell behind attacks in Brussels and Paris is being ‘annihilated’

Punctuated with gunfire and explosions, a new series of anti-terrorism raids unfolded Friday in the Belgian capital as the French president declared that the extremist cell behind Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels and the attacks last November in Paris was being “annihilated.”

The raids here came as French and German authorities swooped down on suspects as part of a European crackdown on possible terrorist networks.

The police actions Friday included a major offensive in central Brussels, where authorities detained three more people near an apartment that the attackers in Tuesday’s airport bombings had used as a safe house and possibly a bomb-making hub.

Two of the people swept up in the raids were shot, both in the legs. One of them was sitting on a tram bench with a suspicious bag and accompanied by a young girl.

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