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Belgian PM extends top terror threat level for Brussels

Prime Minister Charles Michel has announced that the highest level terror alert in Brussels has been extended. Michel warned that shops and public transport remained targets for attacks.

Brussels is set to stay at Belgium's highest level of alert - level four - for another week, Prime Minister Charles Michel told a press conference on Monday. The rest of the country will remain at level three until that time.

"The crisis center decided to maintain the alert level four, which means the threat remains serious and imminent," Michel told a press conference, saying the situation would be reviewed again next Monday.

"We want to thank the people for their calm and understanding," he said.

The prime minister said that despite the high alert level, Brussels public transport and its schools would reopen on Wednesday. "We want to get back to normal as quickly as possible," he said, adding that "we will do our utmost to keep the situation under control," and maintain security across the city.

Michel explained that the threat level must be maintained because "we have serious indications that such attacks [like in Paris] could happen again," but refused to give any further details, "for obvious reasons."

The Belgian capital has been on lockdown since Saturday, with armed security forces patrolling mostly empty and quiet streets. Michel warned the public to continue to exercise caution in "heavily frequented" areas like malls, shopping streets, and public transportation.

Watch video 01:42

More arrests on day 3 of Brussels lockdown

Over the course of the lockdown, a large-scale manhunt has been underway for Belgian national Salah Abdeslam, considered a key player in the Paris attacks that killed 129 people. While Abdeslam remains at large, more than 20 people have been arrested across Belgium for possible connections to the violence.

So far four of the apprehended suspects have been indicted on terrorism charges relating to the Paris attacks, while 15 have been released.

Extraordinary EU-Turkey meeting

Just after Michel's news conference, European Council President Donald Tusk announced that a summit of the European Union's 28 members and Turkey will be held in Brussels on Sunday in hopes to tackle the refugee crisis once and for all, a topic that has taken on increased urgency in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.

"My decision follows positive recommendation by the European Commission and phone call this evening with Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu," Tusk also wrote on Twitter.

es/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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