Belgium Deploys Troops after 'Terror' Threat
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Belgium began deploying hundreds of troops to guard potential targets of attacks, including Jewish sites and diplomatic missions, following a series of raids and arrests, the government said.
Up to 300 soldiers will be gradually deployed in the capital Brussels and the northern city of Antwerp, which has a large Jewish population, Prime Minister Charles Michel's office said in a statement on Saturday.
The soldiers could also eventually be deployed to the industrial eastern city of Verviers, where early on Friday security forces killed two suspected attackers in a huge raid on an alleged "terror cell" planning to attack police in the country.
"The mobilised troops will be armed and their primary responsibility will be to survey certain sites" and to reinforce police, the prime minister's statement said.
The soldiers will initially be stationed at locations such as the US and Israeli embassies in Brussels and NATO and European Union institutions.
The Belgian raid came a week after attacks in and around Paris killed 17 people, rekindling fears in Europe about the threat posed by young Europeans returning home after fighting in the Middle East.
Troops will reinforce police ranks until at least Thursday, when authorities will review the national threat level, set at 3 on a scale of 4 this week, Belgium Defence Minister Steven Vandeput said on Saturday.
"It's very important to say that this wasn't a simple decision. But it was necessary, at a time when police are overly engaged, for the army to enter in a supporting role," he said.
Meanwhile, Greek police told the AFP news agency that at least four people were arrested in Athens on Saturday as part of the probe into the Belgium "terror cell".
Greece's anti-terrorism police were seeking to determine whether those arrested included Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old suspected mastermind of the cell who, according to media reports, may have been planning the foiled attacks from Greece.