Belgian parliament takes additional security measures, threat level unchanged

A police car is parked in front of the Belgian Federal Parliament building in Brussels on September 23, 2015 after it was evacuated earlier in the morning due to a bomb alert. © Laurie Dieffembacq
In the wake of Brussels attacks, Belgium's parliament has taken additional security measures, but chose to keep its threat level at 3 on a 4-tier scale, a spokeswoman said, denying local media reports that the threat level for the institution was raised.

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"We have been told to take additional security measures, above ground as well as below ground," a spokeswoman for Belgium's federal parliament said, adding that the threat level for the building remained at 3.

On Tuesday, Le Soir newspaper said the threat level in the parliament had been raised to the highest level. The daily quoted President of the Lower House of Belgium Siegfried Bracke.

Several days after bombings at the Brussels airport and Metro killed 35 people, Belgium lowered its security alert level from 4, the highest level, to 3, the Belgian Crisis Center reported.

The threat level for Belgium is changed to Level 3. Level 3 is still very severe and means that the threat is possible and likely, but no longer immediate," the group said on Friday.

On Monday, Belgian authorities released a suspect in the Brussels airport bombings, citing a lack of evidence to detain him further. The man, previously identified as journalist Faycal Cheffou, had initially been charged with “terrorist murder.”

Previously, police released CCTV footage of a third suspect in the late March airport attack, with the “man in the hat” seen alongside two suicide bombers.

On March 22, the Belgian capital was rocked by twin blasts at Zaventem Airport, and an explosion at the Maalbeek Metro station, several meters away from key EU buildings, less than an hour later. The Belgian prosecutor’s office identified two suicide bombers as brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks.