Following the arrest of two Islamist militants in the suburbs near the city of Liège that revealed a possible plot to attack the capital during the holiday, Belgian authorities have cancelled the annual New Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks in the heart of Brussels.
“Unfortunately we have been forced to cancel the fireworks and all that was planned for tomorrow evening,” Mayor Yvan Mayeur told Belgian broadcaster RTBF. Last year, some 100,000 braved the cold to participate in the traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the Place de Brouckere, a central square.
Mayeur said it wasn’t possible to “guarantee that we can check everyone coming to the event,” adding, “it’s better not to take any risks.”
This is not the first time Brussels has had to cancel New Year revelry. The same decision was made in 2007, following another terror threat.
At the same time, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that to Islamic State (ISIS) bombers, identified only as M.C. and A.Y., were caught while scouting the capital’s central Kızılay square and nearby bars, the location of many New Year’s Eve celebrations, and planning two separate attacks
Turkish counter-terrorism police units captured two potential suicide bombers, who entered Turkey from Syria, and seized suicide jackets and explosives reinforced with steel balls and rods.