Belgium has been on high alert since the recent attacks in Brussels where coordinated terror attacks aimed at two airports and at a metro station last March left 32 victims dead. Tensions are heightened, as an anti-terror investigation conducted by Belgian police needed an “immediate intervention.”
Officers conducted sweeping operations that covered sixteen communes. Police searched forty homes over the last twenty-four hours. They have checked on the areas related to last March’ nail bombings, including Molenbeek, where Islamic extremism thrives.
The blanket operation has resulted to forty people being detained for questioning, out of which twelve were arrested overnight. No explosives or firearms have been confiscated and no violence has been reported as a consequence of the raids.
With the ongoing Euro 2016 soccer tournament in host nation France, the whole of Europe is on high terror alert. Apparently, it is going to be more difficult to implement security in a vast area with more people coming in and out. More tourists are expected to visit due to the major event.
Following tips regarding imminent danger, Belgian police issued a warning that a group from the Islamic State (IS) had recently left Syria to implement terror plans.
An official document reveals that based on investigations by Belgium officers “They would separate into two groups, one for Belgium, the other for France, to attack in pairs.”
Apart from this, a French police couple was stabbed just outside their home and in front of their son last Monday in Paris. The assailant, Larossi Abballa streamed the video of the attack on Facebook and reportedly said, in reference to the tournament, “The Euros will be a graveyard.” This attack was claimed by the Islamic State, which acknowledged Abballa as one of their fighters.
Belgian officials are focusing their security on football fans, but say that crowded establishments within Belgium like bars and shopping malls are potential targets.
Photo courtesy: Ronan Shenhav/flickr.com