Paris attacks: Belgium, Hong Kong ask citizens not to travel to Paris unless necessary

French police patrolling near the Eiffel Tower a day after the Paris attacks, on Nov 14, 2015.
French police patrolling near the Eiffel Tower a day after the Paris attacks, on Nov 14, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel asked Belgians on Saturday not to travel to Paris unless necessary, hours after attacks claimed by Islamic State killed 127 people in the city.

Belgium also imposed additional frontier controls on road, rail and air arrivals from France in response to Friday's attacks, government officials said.

Gunmen and bombers attacked restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium at locations across Paris. Islamic State has said it was behind the attack. "I ask our citizens not to travel to Paris unless necessary. In our country, there are additional security measures in force," Mr Michel said on Twitter.

Michel also convened a security cabinet meeting on Saturday to review Belgium's responses to the attacks in France.

An interior ministry spokeswoman said that public events, such as football matches, would in particular be subject to"increased vigilance".

 
 

A spokesman for the prime minister said Belgium was not closing its frontiers but would increase spot checks on travellers arriving from France.

Belgium has also been a recent target of militant attacks. In May last year, a gunman, believed to be a French national who fought with Islamist rebels in Syria, killed four people in an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels.

In August, two people were wounded in a struggle to subdue a suspected Islamist militant gunman who had boarded in Brussels a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

Separately, Hong Kong also issued an amber travel alert for France, urging Hong Kong residents to avoid non-essential travel to Paris. While the alert was the lowest of three risk warnings, it was also the first to be issued to a major western country for at least seven years, reported the South China Morning Post.

In a statement the Security Bureau said: "Residents who plan to visit France or are already there should monitor the situation, exercise caution, attend to personal safety, avoid travelling to places of large gatherings of people and pay attention to advice of the local authorities.

"Hong Kong residents should avoid non-essential travel to Paris and the Ile de France area."