In light of indications of a possible terror attack, Belgian law enforcement authorities have called on soldiers patrolling the streets of Brussels to be on high alert during Ramadan.
The Belgian police service has requested extra vigilance from soldiers deployed on the streets of the nation’s capital since the terrorist attacks of 22 March. According to Flemish newspaper De Morgen, new information about a potential attack during during the Islamic fasting period of Ramadan has brought about the move.
During the month of Ramadan — which ends this year on 5 July — soldiers have been ordered to maintain particular care around hospitals, schools and bars in Brussels, particularly as the popular pavement cafes throughout the Belgian capital will be crowded during the Euro 2016 football championships.
The nature of the warning is not yet specific, which means the threat alert has been maintained at level three for the time being. Level four is triggered where authorities are aware that broad indications have become specific times and locations for potential attacks.
The threat level around certain strategic locations — such as a number of sensitive embassies in the Belgian capital — has in fact been reduced in recent times. However, if law enforcement and security officials receive further detailed information in the coming days, making the terror threat more concrete, it has been reported that up to 1,500 troops may be deployed to protect Brussels.
Some months before the attacks in March, Brussels itself was placed under the highest level terror threat. From 21 to 26 November, the city’s bars, restaurants, museums, shops and even schools were restricted in opening times or closed, and the entire metro system was shut down.
A month later the Mayor of Brussels cancelled his city’s annual New Year’s fireworks display due to the ongoing terrorist threat hanging over it, declaring: “It is better not to take risks”.