Brussels city in lockdown
Belgium has placed Brussels at the highest terror alert level, citing a “serious and imminent threat that requires taking specific security measures as well as specific recommendations for the population.”
People are being warned to avoid crowds because of a “serious and imminent” threat.
More soldiers and police have already been deployed in the wake of the Paris attacks, including in the city’s iconic Grand Place.
The threat level for the whole of Belgium has been raised to three – meaning there is a possible or probable threat.
French national Salah Abdeslam, whose brother blew himself up in the French capital, remains at large and is the subject of an international arrest warrant.
The announcement by the Crisis Centre of the Belgian Interior Ministry is advising the public to avoid places where large groups gather such as concerts, sporting events, airports and train stations and comply with security checks. The rest of the nation will maintain its current terror level.
If people take the terror alert seriously, Brussels will be “shut down tomorrow,” CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said.
“It suggests they have something specific and credible at the intelligence front pointing them in the direction that there may be a terrorist plot in the works,” he said. “It also suggests they don’t have a handle on it, that they don’t know where these plotters are or where they’re coming from.”
The increase in alert level for Brussels comes as authorities investigating last week’s terror attacks in Paris conduct raids in Belgium as they work to identify and take down the network of terrorists behind the carnage.
Thursday, Belgian authorities detained nine in raids around that country, the federal prosecutor’s office said. Seven of those people were questioned after six raids around Brussels related to Bilal Hadfi, one of those who blew himself up outside the Stade de France.
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