Belgium’s capital Brussels continues to remain under the country’s highest terror alert level as authorities warned of a possible imminent threat a week after deadly attacks in Paris on November 13, media reports said on Sunday.
Central Brussels remained empty on Saturday night as the terror alert prompted restaurants and bars to shut at 6.00 p.m. (local time), BBC reported. The Brussels subway service has also been suspended until further notice.
Residents were asked to avoid crowds, the Metro was closed along with cinemas and shopping malls, cafes and restaurants.
Soldiers patrolled the streets as a manhunt continued for 26-year-old Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect behind the gruesome attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people, who was thought to be armed with a suicide belt.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said there was “quite precise information” that “several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack… perhaps even in several places”.
Abdeslam appeared to have a large jacket and may have been ready to blow himself up, one of the men who drove him to Belgium has told his lawyer.
Friends of Abdeslam told ABC News they had spoken to him on Skype and said he was hiding in Brussels and desperately trying to get to Syria. They said he was caught between European authorities hunting him and so-called Islamic State (IS) members who were “watching him” and were unhappy that he had not detonated his suicide belt.
As a result, Belgian authorities placed Brussels on its highest level of alert.
The government would review the security situation in Brussels on Sunday afternoon and take further action, sources said.