Sunday, December 13, 2015

Belgian PM warns of "new form of threat to Europe"

Some of the security measures taken during Brussels' heightened terror alert in November were "a notch too high", Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in an interview with Le Soir newspaper on Saturday, warning of "new form of threat".

The terror threat level was raised from 3 to the maximum 4 on the night of Nov. 20, with the city's subway network shut down for five days and shops and public amenities closed.

Looking back at how Belgium handled the alert, Michel told Le Soir: "I prefer to be criticised for doing a bit too much than for allowing a drama to happen. When you're faced with this, you are only thinking about how to make the best possible decision and make it operational."

However he added that some precautionary measures taken locally were "a notch too high", adding: "We should not ask shops, gyms and swimming pools to close."

Michel said: "The night when we passed to level 4 was a terribly intense moment, with the need to stay calm, decide fast and make sure that decisions were implemented immediately. In such a moment, you become aware of the responsibility weighing on your shoulders."

The Belgian prime minister added: "There is a new form of threat to Europe and the values that Europe embodies. It's a more anonymous threat: people putting on an explosive belt and thinking that they will go to heaven when they blow themselves up. We must adapt our security response to this situation."

 Xinhua -

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