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Two Killed During Antiterrorism Operation in Belgium

Belgian police block a street in the eastern city of Verviers during an antiterror operation on January 15.

Belgian authorities say two suspected Islamic militants have been killed and another arrested during an antiterrorism operation in the east of the country.

Magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said the January 15 raids in the eastern city of Verviers thwarted terrorist attacks that were about to be launched "on a grand scale" by Islamic extremists.

The police were ordered to search about 10 houses in Brussels and Verviers where suspected militants were living after returning from Syria.

The two gunmen were killed when a shootout erupted as security forces arrived at a residence in Verviers.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the raid showed Belgian authorities "determination to fight those who want to spread terror."

​Belgium's terror alert system was raised to its second-highest level following the operation.

The development comes after three days of attacks by Islamist extremists in Paris last week that killed 17 victims and sparked global protests.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP