May 11, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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Brussels is on maximum alert, after intelligence indicates threats of multiple, Paris-style attacks. The Belgian capital shut its metro transit system on Saturday and people were warned to stay home and avoid crowds.  Museums, many cinemas, and sports centers were shut, while clubs and large venues canceled events. Police recommended that public events, including major soccer matches, be cancelled. Shopping centers opened, as troops armed with automatic weapons roamed the streets, but closed early in the afternoon. The rest of Belgium is on a slightly lower level of alert.

Prime Minister Charles Michel held a news conference on Saturday after a meeting of the national security council.

“The result of relatively precise information pointed to the risk of an attack along the lines of what took take place in Paris. We are talking about the threat that several individuals with arms and explosives would launch an attack perhaps in several locations at the same time.” He said the security situation would be reassessed by the government on Sunday.

Several of the terrorists from the Paris attack last week that killed 130 were from Brussels.  Salah Abdeslam is being sought by authorities for playing a major role in organizing the attack and is believed to have returned to Brussels. A car rented in his name was found at the scene of the attacks. He was stopped on his way back to Brussels for three routine traffic checks, but released since he was not wanted at the time. His brother, Brahim, was killed while perpetrating one of the attacks.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attacks, was a Belgian citizen whose parents immigrated from Morrocco. He fought for Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and was killed in the siege of an apartment in the Paris suburb of St. Denis on Wednesday.

On Friday, the UN Security Council on Friday authorized nations to “take all necessary measures” to fight ISIS. France extended a ban on public gatherings until November 30.

Also on Friday, Al-Qaeda terrorists assaulted a luxury hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, taking 170 hostages. 19 people were killed in the attack, including one Israeli.

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