Brussels could face multiple coordinated terror attacks during the Islamic month of Ramadan, with attacks focused on schools, hospitals, and other public places, security services claim.
Dutch media claims that new information obtained by security services suggests a heightened risk for hospitals and other public areas. Surveillance has been increased and a more visible security presence, including soldiers, has been ordered. The threat level has been left at three, but is likely to increase to four after the Orlando attacks, meaning there is an “imminent terror attack.”
The heightened threat comes during Ramadan, a time where Muslims fast for one month, which lasts until the 5 July. Islamic State (IS) released a video last month calling for attacks to be carried out throughout Europe and North America during the Muslim holy month.
In a document called That They Live by Proof, published by the Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani, the ‘official spokesman’ of Islamic State, the terror group says: “Allah comes at you from where you did not expect, as His slaves afflict you with the worst torment […] America the incompetent, together with its allies, thinks that it can scare the believers or triumph over the mujahidin […] Ramadan has come near, and it is the month of raids and jihad, the month of conquest.
“Make your deed a source of their regret. Truly, the smallest act you do in their lands is more beloved to us than the biggest act done here [the so-called caliphate].”
Belgium has been on alert level three since March when three coordinated nail bombings occurred in Brussels: one at Maalbeek metro station and the other two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in which 35 people were killed.
Some non-Western embassies and other areas have seen the terror level dropped to a “2+,” meaning a threat is possible, but other targets are more likely to be attacked. 1,500 soldiers are on either patrol or involved in surveillance throughout Belgium with more available if required. Security has been raised throughout Europe during the European Championships.