Accessibility links

Breaking News

Brussels Cancels New Year Festivities Over Terror Threats

New Year's Eve festivities and a fireworks display are being canceled in Belgium's capital due to threats of terrorist attacks.

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said the decision was taken on the evening of December 30 after consultations with government officials.

"We are forced to cancel considering the risk analysis done by the Crisis Center," he told the French-language RTBF network.

Mayeur said, last year 100,000 people turned out in the city to ring in the New Year.

"It is better not to take risks… We can't check everyone," Mayeur was quoted as saying.

The announcement comes a day after Belgium's federal prosecutor's office said two people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in a plot to launch attacks on Brussels landmarks during New Year's celebrations.

Prosecutors said the arrests were not linked to November's deadly Paris terrorist attacks, which authorities say involved a number of militants who had been living in Belgium.

A Belgium counterterrorism official was quoted by CNN as saying that the suspected plot appeared to have been inspired, but not directed, by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and CNN