News Update!!: Brussels, Belgium: High terror alert remains in effect as authorities arrested 16 people.
Authorities in Belgium have arrested 16 people after a series of police raids om Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 across Brussels, Belgium.
At a news briefing Sunday, Belgian Federal Prosecutors took no questions from news reporters and provided few details on the 16 people arrested citing that the investigation is still ongoing.
Belgian Federal Prosecutors did say that no firearms or explosives were recovered during the people raids and wanted fugitive, 26 year old Salah Abdeslam, was not among the arrest during the series of police raids.
Salah Abdeslam is wanted by authorities in connection with the terrorist attacks on Paris, France which killed 130 people on Friday, November 13th, 2015.
Salah Abdeslam reportedly crossed into Belgium the morning after the terrorist attack on Paris, France, but his whereabouts are unknown.
Earlier on Sunday, Salah Abdeslam’s brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, pleaded to Salah Abdeslam on Belgian television to turn himself in and said that Salah Abdeslam doesn’t represent his family and would rather see Salah Abdeslam in prison than in a cemetery.
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Multiple houses were searched in Brussels, Belgium; Liège, Belgium; Molenbeek, Belgium; and Charleroi, Belgium.
According to Belgium Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt, at one point during the police raid in Molenbeek, Belgium, a vehicle reportedly came toward the authorities which lead authorities to open fire twice on the vehicle and the vehicle was later intercepted in Brussels, Belgium where an injured individual was reportedly arrested.
The police raids and arrests came as heavily armed troops and police deployed across Brussels, Belgium and as the city prepared to remain under maximum threat level for a third day, and may for another few more days or weeks.
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On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, Belgium was placed on high terror alert after authorities warned that the threat of a terrorist attacks like in Paris, France that happened on Friday, November 13th, 2015 and killed 130 people.
According to Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, “Based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris … where several individuals with arms and explosives launch actions, perhaps even in several places at the same time.”
Speaking on Belgian Television RTL, Vice Prime Minister Dider Reynders spoke about the threat adding, “The threat is imminent, precise, we’re talking about possible attacks by several individuals, heavily armed, so obviously in parallel we are looking for one and more individuals with weapons, explosives. An investigation is ongoing and we can’t say more, we must avoid disrupting it. What I can say is that there’s a real threat and that’s why we raised the level to 4, and why we’ve taken security measures. Investigators are looking for individuals who have the capability of committing such attacks.”
Belgian raised their terror alert to the highest level for Brussels, Belgium indicating a “serious and immediate threat.”
Authorities in Belgian began searching for individuals related to the threat on Saturday.
The Belgian Crisis Center is saying that it has raised the terror alert for the region of Brussels, Belgium to a level 4, but the rest of Belgium remains at a level 3.
The United States Embassy in Brussels has ordered American citizens to remain at home well the lockdown is in place in response to the threat and to avoid large crowds.
The terror alert being raised forced the closure of the subway system and authorities in Belgian warning their citizens to avoid public spaces, concerts, airports, public transportation, and crowded shopping centers.
All cancellations and closures remain in effect for the third day on Monday, November 23rd, 2015.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel wants the people of Belgian to know, “We urge the public not to give in to panic, to stay calm. We have taken the measures that are necessary.”
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