Belgium On Terror Lockdown: Brussels Metro Closed And People Warned To Avoid Public Areas After 'Serious And Imminent Threat' Alert Over Paris-Style ISIS Attack

Arrested: The 26-year old Belgian citizen Ahmet Dahmani (back left) and a Syrian citizen (front left) are escorted by plain clothes police officers in Antalya, Turkey

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  • Brussels' metro network has been shut following security lockdown after terror threat level is raised in Belgium
  • People have been warned to avoid public gatherings in Brussels after warning of 'imminent threat'
  • Decision based on 'precise information' of Paris style attack, according to Belgium Prime Minister
  • Belgian national arrested in Turkey under suspicion of scouting the ISIS target sites for Paris attacks 

Brussels has been put into security lockdown after Belgian intelligence received 'precise information' of a planned Paris-style ISIS attack in the capital. 

Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel confirmed that the decision to raise the terror alert level in Brussels was taken 'based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris.'

Service has been halted on the Brussels subway system and heavily armed police and soldiers are patrolling the Belgian capital amid a high security alert. 

The country's national security center has raised the terror threat level to Level four after fears of a 'serious and imminent' terror threat involving 'weapons and explosives'. 

Service has been halted on the Brussels subway system and heavily armed police and soldiers are patrolling the Belgian capital amid a high security alert

Troops have been deployed on the streets of Brussels following 'imminent' terror threat fear

Speaking at a news conference, the Belgium Prime Minister said the fear was that 'several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack ... perhaps even in several places'.

'We urge the public not to give in to panic, to stay calm. We have taken the measures that are necessary,' Mr Michel added.

People in Brussels have been told to avoid public gatherings, including concerts, train stations and airports.

Belgium's interior minister Jan Jambon said the country's situation is 'serious' but under control with the nation at its highest state of alert.

Jan Jambon told reporters as he arrived for a special security Cabinet meeting Saturday that 'the situation is serious. Otherwise we would not go to Level 4, but the situation is under control.' 

The terror alert comes as authorities across Europe try to determine how a network of primarily French and Belgian attackers carried out the deadly attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead. 

Brussels was home to the suspected organizer of the November 13 Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a dramatic police shootout on Wednesday.

Security officers continue to hunt for the suspected eight gunman, Saleh Abdeslam, 26, whose brother Brahim, carried out the suicide bomb attack at Le Comptoir Voltaire, killing only himself.

A wanted poster has been published online by French and Belgium police, shortly after it emerged that security officers near the French-Belgian border, stopped Saleh  Abdeslam but allowed him to leave.

 

 High alert: Trucks filled with army personnel take up positions inside the heart of the Belgian capital

Standing by: Heavy armoured carriers have been spotted in many of the main streets in Brussels, Belgium

Terrifying: Brussels was home to the suspected organizer of the November 13 Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a dramatic police shootout on Wednesday

Terror fear: The metro has been closed until tomorrow following fears of a Paris style attack in Brussels

Looking out: Police stand guard after a police raid in the Molenbeek neighbourhood in Brussels following the Paris attacks

Wanted: Police are searching for Saleh Abdeslam, who has been on the run since the Paris attacks, in which his brother Brahim blew himself up at Comptoir Voltaire

Hiding: Authorities had believed Saleh Abdslam might be hiding with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, (pictured) the suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks, who was staying in a flat in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis

Home: People stand on the street on which the house of the parents of Abdelhamid Abaaoud own a home in Molenbeek, Belgium

Belgium has filed charges of 'participation in terrorist attacks and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization' against three suspects relating to the Paris attacks.

Heavily armed police and soldiers have been seen this morning patrolling key intersections of the Belgian capital. 

Security forces remain concerned that further terror violence could be imminent in Brussels, where Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Saleh Abdeslam both spent time in the Belgian capital's Molenbeek neighborhood.

Both men grew up in the hardscrabble Molenbeek district, and their family homes stand within a short walk of its main police station. 

Following the devastating attacks in Paris, David Cameron will visit the French capital on Monday to meet for talks with French president Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

The council backed a French-sponsored resolution designed 'to combat by all means this unprecedented threat', saying IS 'constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security'.

It was hailed as an 'important moment' by Mr Cameron as he seeks backing for UK air strikes in Syria.

Mr Cameron said the vote 'shows beyond doubt the breadth of international support for doing more in Syria and for decisive action to eradicate' IS, which he described as 'this evil death cult'.

A Number 10 spokesman said: 'The Prime Minister will travel to Paris on Monday morning for talks with President Hollande at the Elysee. They are expected to focus on counter-terrorism co-operation and the fight against Isil in Syria and Iraq.' 

Cameron's visit comes as Turkish police arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan origin on suspicion he scouted out the target sites for the Paris attacks.

A Turkish government official the confirmed that two other men were also arrested, without giving details. 

 

 Caught: Counter-terrorism police first became aware of Ahmet Dahmani, 26, when he arrived on a flight to Antalya and tracked him to the hotel in the Manavgat district of the city

The Belgian, Ahmet Dahmani, was arrested at a luxury hotel in the southern coastal city of Antalya. Dogan said the 26-year-old had been staying in a five-star hotel in the popular tourist destination since November 16.

Local media said the two other men, both Syrian citizens, were detained on a nearby highway on suspicion they had been sent by Islamic State in Syria to ensure Dahmani's safe passage across the border and were planning to meet him.

The two men have reportedly been identified as 29-year-old Ahmet Tahir and 23-year-old Muhammed Verdi.

Counter-terrorism police first became aware of Dahmani when he arrived on a flight to Antalya and tracked him to the hotel in the Manavgat district of the city.

Separately, Turkey deported a group of Moroccans detained at Istanbul's main airport this week over suspected links to Islamic State.

The eight, who said they had arrived at Ataturk airport on Tuesday night from Casablanca for a holiday, were detained by border police and questioned by profiling experts who flagged them as suspected militants, a government official said. 

FRENCH TROOPS ON HIGH ALERT OVER FEAR OF CHEMICAL ATTACK

The French Army was protecting vital water facilities around Paris today as the fear of a chemical attack by Islamic State terrorists intensified. A week after suicide bombers carrying Kalashnikovs murdered 130 people in the capital city, the danger of biological warfare intensified.

It came as 12 protective suits used to guard against contaminative viruses like Ebola or chemical products were stolen from the Necker hospital in Paris.More than 30 protective boots made of polyethylene - which is also resistant to chemical agents - have also vanished, along with gloves and anti-bacterial masks.

A hospital spokesman said: 'The disappearance of this limited amount of equipment was noticed on Wednesday and a complaint has been filed.'

Dangerous chemicals were also found among 'an arsenal' of weapons in a flat in the Molenbeek district of Brussels that was raided today.Members of the IS suicide squad that attacked Paris came from the troubled suburb, which is a hotbed of Islamist extremism.

The centre of the Belgium capital was also under lock-down, with Metro stations closed as Prime Minister Charles Michel said that the risk of attack was 'serious and imminent'.

'Several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack, perhaps in several places,' he said.

But the dangers of a chemical attacks raised the terrifying prospect of IS managing to kill thousands of people. Eau de Paris (Paris Water), the capital's state-run water company, has banned access to six vital facilities to all but key personnel.

A spokesman said: 'Our eight security agents are the only ones to be accredited by the Ministry of Defence and are in permanent contact with the terrorism cell of Paris police headquarters.'

Troops were meanwhile stationed around protective fences at water storage plants, which are also equipped with sensors aimed at detecting intruders. To limit the risk of contamination, Eau de Paris has increased the amount of chlorine added to water at five key supply sites.

The company spokesman added: 'The water is always chlorinated for health reasons, but the dose injected has been raised. When the chlorine level drops, it means there is biological contamination.'

Hospitals and emergency services across France have been supplied with the most powerful antidote to Sarin, and other nerve gas chemicals, for the first time. Under a November 14 emergency decree, the Army's medical service was also ordered to distribute stocks of the drug Atropine.

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, confirmed that the danger of 'chemical and biological weapons' being used by IS was at an all time high.

Soldiers and para-military police patrolled streets across both Paris the Brussels as the massive manhunt continued for Salah Abdeslam, the only known attacker from the Friday 13th attacks to have escaped alive.

He is thought to have returned to Belgium straight afterwards, and there have been several unconfirmed sightings of him in Brussels, but 'he could be anywhere now,' said an investigating source.

Two of the suicide bombers had been living in the Molenbeek, and the Belgian authorities have so far charged three people with involvement in the attacks. The Turkish authorities have, meanwhile, arrested three people with suspected ties to ISIS.

It identified one of the suspects as Ahmet Dahmani, 26, a Belgian national of Moroccan descent, who allegedly scouted target sites for the Paris attacks. He was arrested at a hotel in Antalya.

Two other suspects, Syrian nationals Ahmet Tahir, 29, and Mohammed Verd, 23, were arrested after they traveled from Syria to meet Dahmani, a Turkish government spokesman reported. The two were going to take him to Syria, it is alleged.

 

 Masked: Belgium has filed charges of 'participation in terrorist attacks and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization' against three suspects relating to the Paris attacks

Concerned: Heavily armed police and soldiers have been seen this morning patrolling key intersections of the Belgian capital

Armed: Brussels has been put into security lockdown as Belgium's national crisis center raised its terrorism alert to its highest level as at least one suspect from the Paris attacks remains at large

Timeline of events: Eight terrorists carried out the devastating attacks on Friday night, leaving 130 people dead and another 352 injured

 

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