21 Nov 15: In one of the strictest security lockdowns Belgium has seen since World War II, the government deployed troops, shut the capital’s metro system and urged stores to close after officials invoked the maximum terror alert in Brussels amid threats of an imminent Paris-style attack. “The level four was set for Brussels based on a serious and imminent threat,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a news conference. “This is the result of relatively precise information of a risk of attacks, similar to those that took place in Paris.”
Soldiers were deployed outside many hotels and tourist spots throughout the capital. Police asked bars and nightclubs in the center of Brussels to close for the night. The city closed its subway system until Sunday afternoon, and concerts and official soccer matches were canceled. The U.S. Embassy in Brussels urged Americans to “shelter in place,” meaning to stay at home and avoid public transit. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose headquarters are in Brussels, also recommended that staff and their families avoid public transit and public gatherings in the city.
22 Nov 15: Central Brussels was almost empty on Saturday night as the terror alert led restaurants and bars to shut early amid fears of a Paris-style attack. Soldiers patrolled the streets as a manhunt continued for the fugitive Salah Abdeslam. The city was a base for the attackers - Islamic State militants - who killed 130 people in Paris. Prime Minister Charles Michel said later there had been "quite precise information" that "several individuals with arms and explosives could launch an attack... perhaps even in several places". One of the men who drove Salam Abdeslam to Belgium told his lawyer that he was dressed in a "big jacket" and may have had a suicide belt. The lawyer, Carine Couquelet, told Belgian TV this raised questions, including the possibility that Salah Abdeslam may have been supposed to blow himself up in Paris but had had second thoughts. Friends of Abdeslam told ABC News they had spoken to him on Skype and said he was hiding in Brussels and desperately trying to get to Syria. They said he was caught between European authorities hunting him and so-called Islamic State members who were "watching him" and were unhappy that he had not detonated his suicide belt.
23 Nov 15: Belgian security forces have carried out multiple raids across the country, arresting 16 suspects believed to have ties to the deadly attacks in Paris. Police targeted 19 locations overnight in the capital Brussels and in the city of Charleroi, 75km to the south, the federal prosecutor's office said on the 22 Nov 15. "An investigative judge will decide [on the 23 Nov 15] about their further detention," Eric Van Der Sypt, the prosecutor, said. He said no explosives or arms were found. Salah Abdesalam, a Belgian national believed to have been involved in the 13 Nov 15 attacks in the French capital and currently in hiding in the Brussels area, was not arrested in the operation. The raids were carried out based on intelligence gathered in the past few days. "There has been almost an absolute blackout in information from the authorities ... and maybe we're seeing a result of that this evening, but the main target himself [Abdesalam] has not been arrested," he said. Belgium's Crisis Center's Twitter account did not reveal details about the raids but thanked residents and journalists for staying silent while security forces carried out the raids. Abdesalam is believed to be carrying explosives as he attempts to avoid capture by Belgian police. Officials have suspended metro services and cancelled major events, such as football matches, while the hunt continues. On the 23 Nov 15 (Monday), authorities asked nurseries, schools and universities in the Brussels region to remain closed. The Level Four state of alert is the highest that Belgium has ever put in place.
What to do during an attack
Escape if you can
Consider the safest options
Is there a safe route? Run, if not hide
Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
Insist others leave with you
Leave belongings behind
If you can’t run, hide
Find cover from gunfire
If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you
Cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal
Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork/heavy reinforced walls
Be aware of your exits
Try not to get trapped
Be quiet, silence your phone
Lock/barricade yourself in
Move away from the door
Call Emergency Services/Police: What do the police need to know?
Location: Where are the suspects?
Direction: Where did you last see the suspects?
Descriptions: Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc
Further information: Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc
Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so
Bosnia – Security forces in Bosnia are on edge following a deadly terror attack earlier in the week it was reported on the 22 Nov 15. Then a suspected Islamist gunman killed two Bosnian soldiers and fired at a bus with an assault rifle. The gunman killed himself after police surrounded his home at the outskirts of Sarajevo. Most Bosniaks are moderate Muslims, although a small percentage have embraced more conservative interpretations of Islam after the bloody Bosnian war two decades ago. Islamist groups from abroad supported Bosnian troops against both Serbian and Croatian forces during the 1992-95 conflict. Bosnian prosecutors and the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) confirmed on the 19 Nov 15 that the murder of two soldiers was an act of terrorism. Security has been raised.
France – About 200 members of the special units of the French police early on the 19 Nov 15 swooped on the Parisian banlieue, or suburb, of Saint-Denis where the Stade de France, one of the sites of Fridays (13 Nov 15) terrorist attacks, is located and arrested seven people. Two people were killed. One of the dead was a young woman who blew herself up with a suicide vest. French Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters that the operation was a result of a credible tip -- in all likelihood, a police informer who resides in the neighborhood -- suggesting Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, was holed up in an apartment in a residential building. One of the dead was a young woman who blew herself up with a suicide vest. No official information was released, but witnesses describe an operation of several hours, accompanied by explosions and heavy gunfire. The police called on people to stay indoors. Reports that the focus of the operation was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, who is suspected as the mastermind of Friday’s attacks that killed 129 people and injured 350. French Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters that the operation was a result of a credible tip — in all likelihood, a police informer who resides in the neighborhood — suggesting Abbaaoud was holed up in an apartment in a residential building. The young woman who killed herself was a relative of Abaaoud. The other suspect was killed by a police grenade after exchanging fire with the officers surrounding the building. Of the seven detained in the operation, three were in the apartment which was the focus of the raid, and a fourth was the landlord. Saint-Denis has a mixed population of many different ethnic backgrounds. Many of them are “sans-papiers” (“without papers”), that is, they are either in France illegally or are yet to receive their ID papers, without which they cannot legally work or obtain a driver’s license.
Germany – Germany's friendly against Holland was cancelled just 90 minutes before kick-off on the 19 Nov 15 following the threat of an attack at the stadium. Police chief Volker Kluwe said there had been 'a concrete threat scenario for all of Hanover' and that there had been 'serious plans to cause an explosion'. He added that a device was intended to be detonated inside the HDI Arena which has a capacity of 45,000. The postponement comes just four days after Germany's match against France in Paris was targeted by terrorists as part of a coordinated attack on the capital which killed 129 people. One bystander was killed and several more injured while 79,000 supporters watched the match in the ground. 'We had concrete evidence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device in the stadium,' Kluwe told German TV. Referring to another bomb threat about an hour beforehand that turned out to be a false alarm, he said, 'After the first object turned out to be harmless, we got a tip that had to be taken seriously that an attack was being planned.' Announcements had advised fans, most of whom were outside the ground, to leave calmly and that there was no danger. Police had earlier sealed off the ground after finding a suitcase before allowing fans to enter. 'The visitors (spectators), who were already in the stadium at that time, were asked to leave the stadium without panicking,' police said in a brief statement. Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius, speaking at a late news conference, said no explosives had been found by then, and no arrests had been made. Pistorius said there was no confirmation of rumors that an explosive device was placed in an ambulance or another vehicle inside or outside the stadium. Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the same news conference that indications of a planned attack became stronger as the match approached, and that the game was called off at his recommendation. De Maiziere said he could give few details because he needed to protect the source of information, and because 'part of these answers would upset the population.'
Follow On 23 Nov 15: Last Tuesday’s (17 Nov 15) friendly soccer game in Hanover between the national teams of Germany and the Netherland was canceled at the last minute after credible information that terrorists were planning to detonate three bombs inside the stadium during the game. High German official told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the German security services were tipped off by French counterparts that an ISIS-affiliated terror cell in Germany planned to detonate five bombs in Hanover – three inside the stadium, one at a bus stop, and one at a railway station. The Independent reports that the match, which was to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and other high-level political leaders from both countries, was called off ninety minutes before kick-off and the stadium was quickly evacuated. The French intelligence provided the German security services with the names of the would-be attackers, but the German official said the names were not familiar to German counterterrorism agencies. The German authorities are now looking for the suspects, and federal and state police units are expected to increase the number of raids on suspicious sites in the coming days. “Many of the terrorists who committed the attack in France were natives, and many were Syrian returnees. Both of those are true of many radical Islamists in Germany,” the official told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “For that reason, there is a great danger that we could experience a similar attack here.” State broadcaster ZDF, though, reported that the German intelligence services are divided over the accuracy of the information provided by the French counterparts, and that there are doubts whether a German cell existed. ZDF quoted German intelligence officials to say that they receive warnings about the existence of five- to seven-man terrorist cells “almost weekly.” In most cases, the reports turn out to be unsubstantiated, the officials told ZDF, but “since Paris we are looking at those warnings differently.” BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, says there are 1,100 Islamists in Germany, of which 420 are classified as high-risk because of their potential to threaten public safety. These Islamists have exhibited a readiness to use violence.