Ghost town Brussels: Schools shut, shops deserted and metro closed as Belgium remains on lockdown after 21 are arrested in hunt for world’s most wanted – who is seen ‘heading towards Germany in a BMW’

Monday, November 23, 2015
By Paul Martin

Belgium’s terror threat alert was raised to its highest level and troops were deployed to the capitals’ streets
Anti-terror police and soldiers last night carried out raids, leading to 21 arrests at 19 properties in Brussels
Fears remain that Paris-style terror attack is ‘imminent’ in the city, resulting in the shutting of metro and schools
Authorities have stepped up hunt for Paris jihadi Salah Abdeslam, who is spotted ‘heading to Germany in BMW’

By Jay Akbar and Corey Charlton and Tom Wyke
23 November 2015

Belgian police opened fire on the driver of a vehicle during raids targeting terror suspects across Brussels last night in which 21 people were arrested. The prosecutor’s office said it was during a raid on a snack bar in Molenbeek that the man drove at police, who opened fire on his vehicle.

Authorities raided 19 properties in the coordinated police operation last night, arresting 21 people who are set to appear before a judge today. However, Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam was not among those arrested, and no weapons or explosives were found.

Abdeslam was said by Le Soir newspaper to have been identified fleeing in the direction of Germany in a BMW as he tries to avoid arrest.

Residents in Brussels have been told to stay at home for a third day with shops, metro stations and even NATO’s headquarters remaining closed today.

Early reports from the area said residents were told to stay away from their windows, while others were escorted out of nearby restaurants.

Local media reported guests at the Radisson Blu hotel and Hotel Windsor Grande Place had been told to stay indoors, while soldiers were photographed at the buildings.

Police confirmed there was ‘various operations’ underway in Brussels due to a ‘terrorist threat’. They also requested a ‘radio silence’ on social media of details of the operations.

Davide Patteri, an Italian living in Brussels, tweeted: ‘Eating out, police just shut the whole street and now no-one can get out of the restaurant.

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