October 22, 2018

Brussels scales back heightened holiday security status

Belgian authorities on Monday scaled down heightened security adopted over fears of a militant attack in the capital on New Year’s Eve, but the country as a whole remained on high alert.

Belgium’s crisis centre, a state body that advises the government on security, said the alert status for potential targets such as the police, military and Brussels’ main square was downgraded to level two.

However, the overall security level for the country, which has been at the heart of investigations into attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 in which 130 people were killed, remains at level three, one notch below the maximum alert status.

Brussels had called off the city’s traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks over an alleged plot to attack the capital.

Two of the Paris suicide bombers, Brahim Abdeslam and Bilal Hadfi, had been living in Belgium, and at least one man was suspected of having coordinated the attacks by mobile phone from Belgium as they were being carried out.

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