Motorcycle biker (illustration)
Motorcycle biker (illustration) Thinkstock

A senior Belgian counterterror official revealed on Wednesday that the two men arrested the day before for planning terror attacks on "emblematic sites" in Brussels during New Year's celebrations are members of a Muslim biker gang.

The official told CNN on condition of anonymity that the two are part of the Kamikaze Riders gang, and spoke about attacking Grand Place square in the capital, along with other sites where crowds celebrate the New Year, in addition to police and military facilities.

According to the official, the planned attacks were not directed by the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, but rather were inspired by it.

Police arrested the two while searching several locations in the Brussels environs, along with the surrounding province of Flemish Brabant and the city of Liege in eastern Belgium. In the search, computer equipment, military training outfits and ISIS propaganda were seized.

The two Kamikaze Riders members were based in Brussels and Vilvoorde and had criminal records from involvement in robberies and other crimes, according to the official.

They had easy access to weapons, which caused police to act quickly after they discussed the terror plans.

Kamikaze Riders have been linked to terror in the past according to Belgian media. Abdelouafi Elouassaki, a former leader of the gang, was arrested in 2013 after a brother of his who traveled to Syria as a jihadist called him to plan an attack on Brussels' main law courts. Elouassaki was released without charge.

At least one other member of the gang was tied to jihadist activity according to reports.

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