Belgian police have received an anti-terror alert warning that a group of Islamic State fighters recently left Syria en route for Europe planning attacks in Belgium and France, a security source said on Wednesday. ISIS
On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. In these attacks, 32 victims and three perpetrators were killed, and over 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks
The Belgian crisis center in charge of coordinating security responses said an alert had been circulated to all police forces in the country but there were no immediate plans to raise the security level to the maximum that would indicate an imminent threat of an attack.
Newspaper DH quoted the alert from Belgium’s anti-terror cell as saying the group “left Syria about a week and a half ago aiming to reach Europe via Turkey and Greece by boat without passports”, without giving an exact departure date.
The security source confirmed the contents of the alert. The Belgian federal police declined to comment.
DH also said the fighters were armed and aimed to split into two units, one aiming to carry out attacks in Belgium, the other in France. Potential targets in Belgium included a shopping center, a fast-food restaurant and a police station.
It mentioned no specific targets in France, which is hosting the Euro 2016 soccer championships in 10 stadiums across the country until July 10. Some 2.5 million spectators are expected to watch the 51 matches.
The alert came two days after an attacker who pledged allegiance to Islamic State killed a French police commander and his partner at their home outside Paris, and four days after a gunman declaring loyalty to the Islamist militant group massacred 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
A spokesman for the Belgian crisis center said that despite the latest alert, the body that sets the security level did not have any indication of an imminent threat. ISIS
“We are still at level three, which refers to a threat that is serious, and we have been at this level since November,” he said. “It is true that you should be careful in areas with large concentrations of people… Security has already been reinforced at all these targets. For now, there has not been a change.”