16 arrests have been made by Belgian police during anti-terror raids across Brussels and Charleroi, but Paris gunman Salah Abdeslam is believed to remain at large.
Belgian prosecutor Eric van der Sypt held a press conference where he confirmed 22 raids had taken place, but no weapons or explosives were discovered as a result.
The city announced earlier today that it would remain on the highest level of alert with a “serious and imminent” attack, similar to that of Paris just over a week ago, still a possibility.
At around 6pm on Sunday reports started making their way to social media from journalists based in Brussels that Police actions were taking place across the city.
— Christian Fraser (@ChristianFraser) November 22, 2015
Restaurants were reported as evacuated, the Radisson Blu hotel went into lockdown, guests were told not to leave, a trolley was used to block the hotel entrance, and surrounding streets were cordoned off with a bus used to block one road.
Police in the city then requested that journalists stop utilising social media to discuss the ongoing operations in Brussels.
Par sécurité, veuillez respecter le silence radio sur les médias sociaux concernant les opérations de police en cours à #Bruxelles. Merci
— Police Fédérale (@PolFed_presse) November 22, 2015
The bus blockade was removed and closed streets reopened with many reporting that the operation in that part of town was over.
Meanwhile at around 10pm reports came in of a similar operation being carried out in Molenbeek, the suburb connected to Belgian extremists linked to the Paris attacks.
NATO then announced its Belgian HQ would be open on Monday, but with security measures reinforced.
#NATO HQ open tomorrow, security measures reinforced &flexible working arrangements due to Brussels Region alert level kept at 4. Stay safe.
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) November 22, 2015
Following an official press conference unconfirmed reports started to filter through in Belgium that Abdeslam escaped from police in Liege, jumping in a black BMW headed towards Germany. These reports have not been confirmed by authorities.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.