Brussels cancels New Year’s Eve festivities, fireworks over terror threat

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An annual fireworks display and other festivities in Brussels to mark the New Year have been canceled due to a continuing terror threat, mayor Yvan Mayeur says.

The decision comes just days after two people were arrested in Belgium over a suspected plot to carry out “symbolic attacks” during the New Year’s celebrations in Brussels, but it was not immediately clear whether Wednesday’s decision was linked to that plot. Mayeur made the decision on the basis of advice from OCAD, the organization tasked with determining the terror threat in Belgium.

The threat level for Brussels and Belgium as a whole is unchanged at level 3, the second-highest level. There was no immediate word on whether there were plans to raise the threat level to the highest level as a result of the new threat. The Belgian capital was on its highest alert level for several days in late November, when soldiers were deployed across the capital, events were canceled, and public transportation was shut down.

Wednesday’s developments also follow a warning from a foreign intelligence agency to European capitals, advising of a possible plot to carry out an attack between Christmas and New Year.

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