Sunday, November 22
Massive Brussels police dragnet today but Paris Most Wanted still elude
I'll bet they've been ripping up every floorboard in Molenbeek. A smart move requiring cooperation from the media was a news blackout on the raids until they were all over for the day -- not an easy task given the number of raids. Schools and the subway system will remain closed tomorrow in the Brussels; see the following report from AP/CBS report, filed 7:14pm EST, for an update on the terrorism alert in the city:
BRUSSELS - A government official says a series of police raids in central Brussels have ended, hours after the government decided to keep its terror alert at the highest possible level.
Belgian security officials said on early Monday that 16 people have been arrested, and an investigating judge will decide tomorrow if they will continue to be detained.
Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam was not among them. He is known to have crossed into Belgium the morning after the Nov. 13 attacks.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said that "no firemarms or explosives were discovered," in the 22 raids -- 16 in Brussels and the three in Charleroi in the country's south.
"The investigation continues," he said.
One of those detained was injured when a car he was in tried to ram police during an attempted getaway.
Some of the attackers in Paris are now known to have traveled to and lived in Brussels, sparking concerns about further attacks there.
The situation was tense Sunday night in the wider area around the Grand Place, with police out in force and several raids looking for suspects going on.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said Sunday the government has decided to keep the terror alert at the highest level for a sustained "serious and imminent" threat against the capital.
Michel said that like the weekend, authorities fear a Paris-like attack, "even perhaps at several locations."
The prime minister said the threats appear to be directly against commercial centers, shops and public transportation.
He said schools and the subway system in Brussels would not open as the workweek begins on Monday. Officials have also encouraged the public to remain vigilant and avoid crowds or large public gatherings.
Earlier Sunday, the mayor of one of Brussels' many municipalities told Belgian media that the capital is still facing a grave threat because of the likelihood of there being terrorists connected to the Paris attacks there.
Schaerbeek Mayor Bernard Clerfayt said Sunday: "There are two terrorists in the Brussels region that could commit very dangerous acts."