BRUSSELS, Belgium – Authorities raided homes on Wednesday and detained 14 people suspected of links to a Belgian female suicide bomber who struck in Iraq three weeks ago.
In France, police arrested a suspected Islamic radical in the Paris region in connection with the sweep, a judicial official said.
Lieve Pellens, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office in Belgium, confirmed a Belgian-born woman had carried out an attack in Iraq.
Other officials linked the woman, who was not identified, to a bomb strike against a U.S. patrol in Iraq's capital on Nov. 9. But U.S. officials could not confirm the nationality of the attacker, who was the only one killed in the blast.
Media reports said the woman was born in Belgium and married a Muslim radical, with whom she drove to Iraq.
Pellens said authorities were searching the homes of several people who may have aided the woman. Police carried out raids and detained 11 in the capital, Brussels, and one each in the southern city of Charleroi, the northern city of Antwerp and the eastern town of Riemst.
"We are looking for partners in crime more than searching in her immediate family," said Pellens.
Belgium has been mentioned as a breeding ground for terrorists in the past, and there are currently 13 Belgian and Moroccan nationals on trial for alleged membership in an Islamic group suspected in recent bomb attacks in Spain and Morocco.
None of the defendants is accused of actively taking part in any terrorist attacks in Belgium, but some face charges of providing terrorists with forged identity papers, shelter and other logistical support.
Islamic radical groups linked to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network are suspected of setting up networks in Belgium and other European nations with large Muslim communities.