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Belgian soldiers patrol in central Brussels, November 21, 2015, after security was tightened in Belgium following the fatal attacks in Paris. Belgium raised the alert status for its capital Brussels to the highest level on Saturday, shutting the metro and warning the public to avoid crowds because of a "serious and imminent" threat of an attack.
Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Heavily armed in the heart of Europe.
SOLDIERS ON THE STREETS

Photos: Brussels is on lockdown amid a “serious and imminent” terrorist threat

Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

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.

Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Belgian prime minister Charles Michel (center) holds a news conference about the raised terror threat alert in Brussels on Nov. 21.
Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Belgian soldiers and a police officer on patrol in central Brussels.
EPA/Stephanie Lecocq
Metro stations in Brussels are closed for the weekend.
Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Soldiers on patrol in the arrival hall at Midi railway station in Brussels.
Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Soldiers stand guard outside of a central Brussels hotel.
AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
Soldiers patrol next to flowers left outside the French consulate office in Brussels.
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