The heightened state of alert has been in effect in Belgium since 21 December. This was the day that authorities detained 14 people suspected of plotting to help an accused al-Qaeda militant break out of jail. Based on partial results of an inquiry into the suspected plot and intelligence information gathered nationally and abroad, the terror alert to Brussels has dropped from Level 4 -- the highest -- to Level 3.
This was announced by manager at the government Crisis Centre, Alain Lefevre, following an evaluation of the situation by the government.
"However, that does not mean we can let our guard down. A certain number of security measures -- both visible and less visible -- remain in place," Lefevre is quoted as saying.
(more on Trabelsi)
More terrorism experts are needed to work with the police : especially people who speak Arabic and understand Islam.
The police need to have experts working with them to be able to better asset threats. Especially the Brussels anti-terrorism department has a shortage of personnel. There is a budget for 100 people, but only 70 people are working in the department at the moment.
The problem up until now is that the department could only recruit within the police. Within the police not enough people were found who could speak Arabic and who understand Islam and the Moslem world.
The federal police have decided to recruit civilians now to help out in the anti-terrorism squad. The new recruits are to be given a short training course to enable them to start working very quickly.
Nizar Trabelsi and his girlfriend Naima are going to lodge a complain against unknowns and the Belgian state for "making up the so-called escape plan" and due to threats. Nizar Trabelsi, who has been sentenced for 10 years in prison for planning on attack on the Kleine-Brogel base, will also start with a hunger strike Wednesday.
Sources: Expatica 1, 2 (English), HLN (Dutch)
See also: Brussels: Terror attack planned, Brussels: Continuing terror threat, Belgium: Terror report