The Belgian capital of Brussels is on lockdown for the second consecutive day as security officials have strong suspicions that Islamic State fugitive and Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam is hiding in the city. Reports say that the 26-year-old spoke to friends via Skype, and that his brother Mohammed Abdeslam has urged him to give himself up to the police.
The Belgian government raised the terror threat in the city to the highest level on Saturday, with armed police and soldiers on patrol. Brussels’s public transport has been shut down, and events across the city have been cancelled. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to increase security came after they received “quite precise information about the risk of an attack” like the Paris siege in which 130 people were killed, according to a report in The Independent. A weapons hoard was discovered in the Brussels district of Molenbeek during a search operation.
Abdeslam’s colleague Hamza Attou, one of two suspects charged by Belgium for assisting the terrorist, reportedly told his lawyer that the French national is in possession of a suicide bomb. He added that Abdeslam was “extremely agitated and may be ready to blow himself up”.