Belgium lowers security alert level in Brussels

Security personnels and ambulances are in position around Brussels' Great Mosque in Brussels on Nov 26, 2015. The Great Mosque of Brussels was evacuated and 11 people decontaminated after the discovery of a suspicious package containing white powder.
Security personnels and ambulances are in position around Brussels' Great Mosque in Brussels on Nov 26, 2015. The Great Mosque of Brussels was evacuated and 11 people decontaminated after the discovery of a suspicious package containing white powder. The EU capital has lowered its terror alert on Nov 26, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium lowered the security threat level in Brussels on Thursday (Nov 26) after nearly a week on maximum alert following the Islamic State attacks in Paris, a government minister said. 

Confirming earlier reports, Kris Peeters, the economy minister, told public broadcaster VRT that the national threat assessment agency, made up of security experts and officials, had taken the decision.

The government’s national security council was meeting to discuss concrete measures to be taken. 

The reduction to Level 3 – serious, a possible and probable threat – from Level 4 – a very serious, “imminent” threat - brings the capital into line with the rest of the country. 

Immediately after the Paris attacks on Nov 13, Belgium raised its security alert to Level 3 and a week later put Brussels onto maximum alert as police hunted a local suspect in the violence in France as well as accomplices who the government said might be planning similar attacks in the Belgian capital. 

The suspect remains at large.

Police have mounted a number of raids and searches over the past two weeks in Belgium, the most recent on Thursday, and have charged five people with terrorism offences linked to the Paris attacks.