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Three Belgian men have been charged with terrorism offences following a major security operation across the country.

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The suspects, named by prosecutors as Samir C, Moustapha B and Jawad B, are accused of attempting to commit a terrorist murder and of participating in a terrorist group's activities.

The men, aged between 27 and 40, remain in detention as an investigation continues.

Police have raided several properties across Belgium

The raids were conducted on Friday night and Saturday morning

They were among 12 people who were arrested across the country, and the other nine held have since been released.

Police raided about 40 houses and 152 garages across the country on Friday and Saturday.

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Belgium's federal prosecutor's office revealed an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation had "necessitated an immediate intervention".

According to Flemish broadcaster VTM, the people arrested were suspected of planning an attack during Saturday afternoon's Euro 2016 match between Belgium and Ireland in France.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir said areas where fans watch matches in Brussels were potential targets, as well as other crowded areas such as shopping centres and stations.

The country's Prime Minister, Charles Michel, chaired a meeting of the government's security council on Saturday after the raids and said football-related events would go on as planned with extra security measures.

"We want to continue living normally," he said. "The situation is under control."

"We are extremely vigilant, we are monitoring the situation hour by hour and we will continue with determination the fight against extremism, radicalisation and terrorism."

Belgium remains on the second highest terror alert in the wake of the 22 March attacks on the Brussels subway and airport which left 32 people dead.

In November last year, 130 died during attacks in Paris.

Investigators have confirmed links between the perpetrators, some of whom were based in Belgium.

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