Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took a jab Friday at the Europeans Union in wake of anti-terror raids led by French and Belgium police, which saw over 20 people arrested, and led Jewish schools to close in Belgium and Holland.
"I wonder if the EU will condemn the Belgium and French governments for excessive use of force," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I wonder if they will call on them to negotiate with terrorists," he quipped. The comments join a long string of instances in which Lieberman slammed the EU for what he perceives as an anti-Israel bias among EU nations.
Belgian police were questioning 13 suspects on Friday detained during raids against an Islamist group they feared planned to attack police and two other people were held in France, state prosecutors said.
- Belgium, France, Germany arrest over 20 suspected terrorists; bomb threat in Paris
- Dutch Jewish school closed after anti-terrorist raid in Belgium
- Belgium's marginalized Muslims fight in Syria 'out of despair'
A spokesman told a news conference there was still no apparent link to last week's Islamist attacks in Paris and the identities of two gunmen killed during one of the raids on Thursday, in the eastern town of Verviers, had yet to be confirmed.
Reports named them as Redouane Hagaoui, also known as Abu Khalid Al Maghribi, and Tarik Jadaoun, also known as Abu Hamza Belgiki, and said both had recently returned from Syria.
As well as guns, including four AK-47 assault rifles, and explosives, police uniforms were found in the apartment at Verviers, spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt said, adding: "This group was on the point of carrying out terrorist attacks aiming to kill police officers in the streets and in police stations."
Asked about a report of a plan to behead a policeman - an echo of Islamist violence elsewhere, including an attack on an off-duty soldier in London in 2013 - he declined comment. He said there had been plans for attacks across Belgium.
He would not say where in France the two suspects there were detained at the request of the Belgian authorities. Some of the suspects had recently returned from Syria.
In separate operations that officials said were unrelated, German and French counter-terrorism police also made arrests.
Belgian security forces were on high alert, with extra armed security in evidence at some public buildings, notably police stations. Public broadcaster RTBF said officers were told not to be on the streets alone while in uniform.
On Thursday, prosecutors said the suspects had been on the point of launching "terrorist attacks on a grand scale".
All three Verviers suspects were citizens of Belgium, which has one of the biggest concentrations of European Islamists fighting in Syria.
Earlier on Thursday, in an apparently unrelated development, police detained a man in southern Belgium whom they suspected of supplying weaponry to Amedy Coulibaly, killer of four people at the Paris Jewish grocery after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Belgian media quoted a national lawmaker as saying phone taps prompted the operation. There has been concern in Europe that the French attacks, carried out by known radicals not seen as priority threats by security forces, might cause other groups to capitalize on public anxiety by accelerating plans to act.
Reuters contributed to this report