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brussels terror alert


Sixteen suspects have been arrested in Brussels anti-terror raids, but suspected Paris attacks gunman Salah Abdeslam remains at large, Belgian authorities have said.

Some 22 raids were carried out on November 22 across Brussels and Charleroi, the federal prosecutor’s spokesman said.

Brussels remains on the highest level of terror alert. Universities, schools and the metro system will stay closed on November 23.

More than 130 died and 350 were injured in the Paris attacks 10 days ago.

Police fired two shots at a car during an operation in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, injuring one suspect who was later arrested.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

No weapons or explosives were found during the searches on November 22, spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference.

French President Francois Hollande said France planned to intensify its air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria.

“We will intensify our strikes, choosing targets that will do the most damage possible to this army of terrorists,” Francois Hollande said.

He kicks off a week of diplomatic efforts to rally support to crush the group: after meeting UK PM David Cameron on November 23, he will meet President Barack Obama on November 24, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 25 and Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 26.

The French government says the aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, will be operational in the Mediterranean on November 23 and ready to act against ISIS militants in Syria.

Brussels has been on lockdown all weekend amid a manhunt for Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of being among the assailants who killed 130 people in Paris on November 13.


Brussels is extending the highest level of terror alert because of the “serious and imminent” threat of Paris-style attacks, Belgium’s PM Charles Michel has announced.

The prime minister added that universities, schools and the metro would stay shut.

Belgium’s capital has been on lockdown all weekend, amid a manhunt for suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam.

ISIS militants, some of them from Brussels, killed 130 people in Paris on November 13.

Security forces completed several operations in Brussels on Sunday night, the AFP news agency reports. The police had urged the public not to report its movements on social media.

On November 22, PM Charles Michel told reporters in Brussels that the authorities fear “an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could also possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations”.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

Earlier, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the danger to Belgium was not tied to Salah Abdeslam alone.

“The threat is broader than the one suspected terrorist,” he told Flemish broadcaster VRT.

It was not clear if Jan Jambon was referring to those involved in the Paris attacks, or others who might be planning attacks in Belgium.

Soldiers joined police officers on patrols in Brussels over the weekend. Many public spaces in the usually bustling capital were deserted, as people heeded official warnings to avoid crowds.

The Belgian authorities have so far charged three people with involvement in the Paris attacks, claimed by ISIS.

French media have reported that nine militants carried out the attacks, and seven died on the same night.

One of the men who drove Salah Abdeslam to Belgium told his lawyer that he was dressed in a “big jacket” and may have had a suicide belt.

The lawyer, Carine Couquelet, told French TV this raised questions, including the possibility that Salah Abdeslam may have been supposed to blow himself up in Paris but had had second thoughts.

Friends of Salah Abdeslam told ABC News they had spoken to him on Skype and said he was hiding in Brussels and desperately trying to get to Syria.

They said Salah Abdeslam was caught between European authorities hunting him and ISIS members who were “watching him” and were unhappy that he had not detonated his suicide belt.

Belgium has raised the terror alert in Brussels to the highest level fearing an attack “like the one that happened in Paris” last week, PM Charles Michel says.

The fear was that “several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack… perhaps even in several places”, Charles Michel said.

Some of the attackers who killed 130 people in Paris lived in Brussels.

Paris attacks leading suspect Salah Abdeslam is believed to have gone back to Belgium.

A huge manhunt is under way.

The Brussels metro is closed till November 22 and people have been told to avoid crowds.

Photo AP

Photo AP

These include shopping centers and concerts, and the authorities have also recommended that large events, including football matches, be canceled, a statement said.

The warning for the rest of Belgium stays at a lower level, which is still at a “serious” level.

The Belgian government will review the security situation in Brussels on November 22, Charles Michel added.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon earlier told reporters Belgium’s situation was “serious”, but “under control”, as he arrived for a special security cabinet meeting on November 21.

Turkish police say they have arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan descent on suspicion that he scouted out sites in Paris, Turkish news agencies report.

The Belgian authorities have so far charged three people with involvement in the attacks, which ISIS said it carried out.