In the early hours of Saturday (Nov. 21), Belgian authorities raised the terror threat for Brussels to its highest level (link in French). Prime minister Charles Michel said there is a “serious and imminent” threat in the Belgian capital based on “quite precise information.”
“Several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack … perhaps even in several places,” he said.
Police and soldiers have fanned out across Brussels. The metro has been shut down for the weekend. The government also called on city authorities to cancel large events, including professional soccer matches (the league is reportedly resisting this request), and urged residents to avoid crowded areas.
Brussels is at the center of the investigation into the terror attacks in Paris last week, with several of the attackers linked to the Molenbeek neighborhood of the Belgian capital. The alleged architect of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaooud, was a Belgian national who lived in Molenbeek; he was killed in a raid on a Paris suburb on Nov. 17. One of the attackers in Paris, Salah Abdeslam, is thought to have fled to Brussels after the shootings in Paris.