Brussels terror alert stays, schools and metro to reopen Wednesday



Brussels terror alert stays, schools and metro to reopen Wednesday



Police close streets near the Grand Place in Brussels on Sunday (AP photo) 

BRUSSELS/PARIS — Brussels will remain under the highest level of alert for another week due to an ongoing terrorism threat, but schools and the underground train system will reopen from Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.


"The crisis centre decided to maintain the alert level four, which means the threat remains serious and imminent," Michel told a press conference, adding that the threat level will be reviewed again next Monday."We want to thank the people for their calm and understanding," he added.The army and police will continue to be deployed in force and the country will reduce the number of events with large crowds, for fear of a repeat of the Paris gun and suicide bomb attacks on November 13, Michel said.But he added his government was trying to bring the country "back to normal as quickly as possible" while working with the security services.

It decided to reopen schools and the underground metro from Wednesday."For schools, that means that in the coming hours, we will guarantee a level of security everywhere on the country's territory," the prime minister said. "As for the metro, the aim is to reopen the metro gradually, but starting on Wednesday.

"The rest of the country will remain on alert level three, which means an attack is considered possible and the threat credible.Brussels has been locked down since Saturday with armed police and troops patrolling quiet streets.Meanwhile, a "belt that may resemble an explosive belt" was found Monday in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge, sources close to the investigation said, 10 days after attacks in the capital left 130 people dead.

The object was found in a dustbin on Monday afternoon, a police source said, confirming information reported by France Info radio.The belt, which was found by dustmen, is being analysed “to confirm whether it is explosive”, a source close to the inquiry said.The source said telephone data placed Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the attacks who is believed to still be on the run, in the Montrouge area on the night of the attacks.Abdeslam is the subject of a massive manhunt in both France and Belgium, suspected of playing at least a logistical role in the coordinated shooting and suicide bombings that took place on November 13.

The lawyer of one of the men who has been charged on suspicion of helping Abdeslam escape to Brussels after the carnage, said the key suspect “may have been ready to detonate”.Of around a dozen people suspected of playing a role in the attacks, seven blew themselves up: two at the Bataclan concert venue, three at the Stade de France Stadium, one at a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire and one during a post-attacks police raid at an apartment in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.

The suicide belt worn by a third attacker at the Bataclan exploded after he was killed by French security forces.Francois Molins, the anti-terror prosecutor who is taking centre-stage in the investigation, said the vests used in the attacks were made using TATP — acetone peroxide, a chemical easy for amateurs to make — as well as batteries and a push-button detonator.
Brussels terror alert stays, schools and metro to reopen Wednesday Brussels terror alert stays, schools and metro to reopen Wednesday Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 9:03 PM Rating: 5

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