Brussels terror alert lowered

Belgian Prime Minister reduces terror threat from "serious and imminent" to "possible and likely".

By William Louch

27 Nov 2015

The Belgian government announced Thursday that it had lowered the security threat in Brussels from the highest level, with the threat now considered "possible and likely" as opposed to "serious and imminent." The decision to lower the threat level from four to three means Brussels is now on the same state of alert as the rest of the country.

The announcement brings to an end six days of lockdown, which saw the metro and schools shut for a period, public events cancelled and armed police and soldiers deployed extensively throughout the city.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel raised the security alert to level four last Friday after receiving, “information, relatively precise, of a risk of an attack similar to the one that unfolded in Paris.”


The decision to lower the threat has come as something of a surprise as the Belgian government had announced earlier in the week that the highest level of alert would remain in place until next Monday 30 November at the earliest.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens justified the decision by saying that the level had been reduced because there is no longer evidence of an imminent threat.

Steven Vandeput, the Belgian Defence Minister, added that the military presence would remain across the capital as "we should not forget we are still at level three, which is high."

The past week has seen the army and the police conduct multiple security operations aimed at capturing Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian national who participated in the terror attacks in Paris which left 130 dead.

Abdeslam, a resident of the troubled Molenbeek commune, was rumoured to have returned to Brussels following the attacks two weeks ago.

However, security forces in Belgium have so far been unable to locate Abdeslam, though five people have been charged with terror offences related to the Paris attacks following a number of raids and searches on properties across the country.

Although the lockdown is over, the situation in the city remains tense. Yesterday, Brussels' largest mosque was evacuated over the discovery of suspect packages containing white powder. The powder was eventually identified to be flour.

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