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Belgian police detain man who was jailed with Liege attacker - media

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Belgian police detain man who was jailed with Liege attacker - media
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian police on Wednesday arrested a man who earlier had been jailed along with a convicted drug dealer who killed two policewomen and a bystander on May 29 while on day release from prison, local media reported.

Belgian dailies Le Soir and La Libre named the detained man as Fouad Bennane, a 39-year-old who had spent time in prison for armed robbery along with killer Benjamin Herman and had been flagged on a list of suspected Islamist militants.

Belgian authorities are still investigating the motives of Herman, a 31-year-old Belgian drug dealer who had been in jail for years but was on furlough when he went on a killing spree. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but provided no proof.

Herman was shot dead by police at a school near the scene of the killings in the eastern Belgian industrial city of Liege.

Investigators have said that while Herman was not a perceived security threat, he had contact with Islamist militants in jail in 2016 and early 2017.

Bennane was arrested by special forces for violating terms of his conditional release from prison, La Libre cited federal prosecutors as saying.

Bennane was taken into custody in Verviers, another industrial town close to Liege, where in early 2015 police raided a safe house and killed two men who had returned from fighting with radical Islamists in Syria.

Militants in Vervier had links to a Brussels-based Islamic State cell that carried out attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people and in Brussels in March 2016 in which 32 people died.

Belgian police and prosecutors could not be reached for comment on the media reports.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel @AdeCar)

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