Security services in Belgium have warned their French counterparts that Islamic State (IS) jihadists are on their way to the country. The terror group’s ‘fighters’ are attempting “to reach the EU by boat via Turkey and Greece [and] without passports,” Belgium’s press claims.
The intelligence information has been shared with French police across the country, a French official said. Shopping centres, swimming complexes, sports centres, and American businesses have been noted to be likely targets.
Derniere Heure, a Belgium newspaper claiming to have received a security services alert, reports that a group of IS members left a coastal town in Syria with weapons approximately two weeks ago. Since leaving, they have attempted to exploit the refugee and migrant route to Europe – travelling across the Mediterranean and via Turkey – heading for Belgium and France.
The Grayson Post reported yesterday that IS warned of increased attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Further reports have been recieved across Europe warning that fighters from Syria may pose an imminent threat. A French official claimed reports of this nature are not rare, saying authorities have already put in place army and armed police at likely target locations, and the situation in the country will not change for the time being.
“We are still on level three, quite a high level of threat […] these kinds of potential targets are under protection,
” said Benoit Ramacker, spokesman for the Belgium Crisis Centre. Level three means that a threat is highly likely, but not imminent. Level four is the highest and means authorities are expecting an attack.
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.