ISIS claims responsibility for Brussels terror attacks

A Belgian police officer patrols outside the Gare du Midi train station in Brussels, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Explosions, at least one likely caused by a suicide bomber, rocked the Brussels airport and its subway system Tuesday, prompting a lockdown of the Belgian capital and heightened security across Europe. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

An Iraqi intelligence official says sources in the Syrian city of Raqqa have told them that the Islamic State group has been planning terrorist attacks in Europe for two months which would "target airports and train stations."

The official tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iraqi officials told European countries about the plans "but Brussels was not part of the plans" at the time.

He says IS militants changed the operation and moved it to Brussels "because of the detention of Salah Abdeslam" the Paris attacks suspect arrested Friday in Brussels.

Another senior Iraqi intelligence official said "Daesh (IS) was behind this operation and it was planned in Raqqa two months ago and there are three suicide attackers who will carry out another attack."

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity since the investigation was ongoing.

Asked about Salah Abdeslam's arrest during a CNN interview, Johan Verbeke Belgian Ambassador to the U.S., said he preferred "not to speculate on a direct connection."

Disclosing that they had found heavy weapons during last week's raid, Verbeke said "something was in the offing."

New names, people connected to terror network have emerged, Verbeke described, adding that he "would not say it is over."

"That would be premature and preposterous,"Verbeke said.


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Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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