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Brussels Terror Alert Level Raised

  • VOA News

Belgian soldiers and a police officer patrol in central Brussels after security was tightened in Belgium following the fatal attacks in Paris, Nov. 21, 2015.

Belgian soldiers and a police officer patrol in central Brussels after security was tightened in Belgium following the fatal attacks in Paris, Nov. 21, 2015.

Belgium has raised its terror alert level for its capital Brussels to the highest level, warning of an "imminent threat."

The government said early Saturday that the terror alert was raised to level 4. A statement said that signifies a "very serious threat for the Brussels region."

The statement warned citizens to stay away from crowded public areas, such as concerts, shopping areas and transport hubs, if possible.

The move to the highest possible threat level comes one week after terrorist attacks claimed by Islamic State left 130 people dead in Paris.

A key suspect – now the subject of an international search warrant – is still at large and may be in Belgium. Salah Abdeslam was last seen driving toward the Belgian border. Police stopped and questioned him a few hours after the attacks before letting him go.

Late Friday, Belgium charged a third, unidentified person with involvement in terrorism. No other details were released. Two others are in Belgian custody and face similar charges related to the Paris attacks.

Belgian authorities conducted nine raids Thursday in several parts of Brussels. Nine people were arrested. One person who has not yet been identified has been charged. Some of the homes searched were in the neighborhood where Abdelslam lived along with his brother Ibrahim, who blew himself up outside one of the cafes attacked in Paris.

Some of the raids were connected to Bilal Hadfi, one of the terrorist who blew himself up outside the French stadium that was attacked.

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