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Brussels Cancels New Year's Fete, Cites Terror Threat; Security Tight in NYC

  • VOA News

Belgian soldiers stand guard at Brussels' Grand Place, Dec. 30, 2015, after two people were arrested in Belgium on Sunday and Monday, both suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year's Eve, federal prosecutors said.

Belgian soldiers stand guard at Brussels' Grand Place, Dec. 30, 2015, after two people were arrested in Belgium on Sunday and Monday, both suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year's Eve, federal prosecutors said.

Brussels' mayor has canceled the Belgian capital's annual New Year's Eve celebration because of a terror threat.

"Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel the fireworks and all that was planned for [Thursday] evening and that would have brought a lot of people together in the center of Brussels," Mayor Yvan Mayeur told Belgian broadcasters.

The mayor said that according to a crisis center analysis, it would not be possible to screen the tens of thousands of people who were expected to turn out.

Belgian police arrested two people earlier this week who were suspected of plotting a New Year's Eve terror attack on what officials called "emblematic" targets. Prosecutors said the threat was "serious."

Four of the Islamic extremists who killed 130 people in multiple terrorist attacks in Paris in November were from Belgium.

FILE - Pedestrians watch confetti fall as members of the Times Square Alliance perform an "air worthiness test" for the confetti that is similar to what will be used for New Year's Eve in New York on Dec. 29, 2015.

FILE - Pedestrians watch confetti fall as members of the Times Square Alliance perform an "air worthiness test" for the confetti that is similar to what will be used for New Year's Eve in New York on Dec. 29, 2015.

New York security

Meanwhile, thousands of police officers, some armed with long guns, radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs, will be guarding the massive New Year's celebration in New York City's Times Square.

Police, the FBI, and Homeland Security officials say there are no specific credible threats to New York or any other U.S. parties.

But they will be vigilant and proactive with celebrations coming just weeks after terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

Authorities are also monitoring overseas communications for any threats.

More than 1 million people plan to crowd into Times Square to welcome in 2016 Thursday night.

New York police chief James Waters says he is very confident that "New Year's Eve in New York City will be the safest place in the world."

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