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article imageBelgium raises terror alert to highest level in Brussels

By AFP     Nov 20, 2015 in World

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level in the capital Brussels on Saturday, with the OCAM national crisis centre warning of an "imminent threat" a week after the Paris attacks.

"Following our latest evaluation... the centre has raised its terror alert to level 4, signifying a very serious threat, for the Brussels region," it said, as Europe tightens security after Islamic State militants killed 130 people in the French capital.

"The analysis shows a serious and imminent threat requiring specific security measures as well as detailed recommendations to the population," said OCAM, which is part of the Belgian interior ministry, in a statement.

The centre urged citizens to avoid crowded areas such as concerts and transport hubs in Belgium's capital, which is also home to the European Union and NATO headquarters.

Soldiers patrol at the Antwerp Centraal railway station in Antwerp  Belgium on November 20  2015
Soldiers patrol at the Antwerp Centraal railway station in Antwerp, Belgium on November 20, 2015
Luc Claessen, BELGA/AFP

The officials declined to add further details until later on Saturday "in order to allow ongoing judicial investigations to follow their course," the statement said.

Belgian investigators a few hours earlier charged a third unnamed suspect, arrested the day before, with involvement in terrorism over the Paris attacks.

This was in addition to Hamza Attou and Mohammed Amri, who were charged earlier this week with aiding fugitive Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam on the night of the attacks.

French Police have released a photo and description of Abdeslam Salah  whom they are hunting as a su...
French Police have released a photo and description of Abdeslam Salah, whom they are hunting as a suspect in the attacks in Paris
, Police Nationale/AFP

Brussels resident Abdeslam, whose brother Brahim blew himself up at a Paris bar, is believed to be in Belgium and is the subject of a huge manhunt.

The fugitive is closely linked with the alleged Paris attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in police raid on Wednesday.

Both grew up in the poor Molenbeek district of Brussels, described as an extremist hotbed, before going to join the Islamic State group in Syria.

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