Belgian authorities say two people have been killed and one has been arrested during a shootout in an anti-terrorist operation in the eastern city of Verviers.

Magistrate Eric Van der Sypt told reporters in Brussels on Thursday that the suspects were on the verge of committing a major terrorist attack, and that they immediately opened fire on security forces.

He said at emergency news conference that anti-terrorist raids are under way in the Brussels region and Verviers. He said Belgium's terror alert level was raised to its second highest level.

The raid was part of an investigation into extremists returning from Syria.

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