Date
17 January 2017
Belgium will remain on guard though the security alert level in Brussels has been lowered, Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
Belgium will remain on guard though the security alert level in Brussels has been lowered, Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Brussels downgrades terror alert from highest level

Belgium on Thursday lowered the terror alert in Brussels from the highest level, helping the city limp back to normalcy after a lockdown since last weekend.

However, Prime Minister Charles Michel urged people to remain vigilant as the risk of a Paris-style attack hasn’t dissipated completely.

“We remain on guard,” Reuters quoted Michel as saying at a news conference.

“The situation is serious, but according to indications from the security services, not as imminent as previously assessed.”

He declined to say what prompted a threat analysis committee to reduce its recommendation from the maximum Level Four to Level Three, bringing the capital into line with the rest of the country.

Police and troops will remain on the streets, albeit possibly in lesser numbers.

On Wednesday, Brussels saw its metro rail system partially reopen after a four-day lockdown. Service will return to normal on Friday.

The safety of large gatherings such as sports events will be reviewed case by case, Michel said.

The nationwide threat level was raised to Three — “Serious” — after the Nov. 13 Islamic State attacks in Paris, which involved at least two suicide bombers from Brussels.

The brother of one them is still being hunted after he returned home to Brussels in the hours after the Paris attacks.

Authorities have said Salah Abdeslam, 26, or accomplices could be planning new violence.

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RC

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