Terror alert shuts Brussels metro as jihadist on the run

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Brussels, Nov 21: Brussels shut its metro system as a terror alert was raised to its highest level today, with a gunman still on the run after the Paris attacks which have sent jitters through Europe.

Citizens of the Belgian capital were urged to avoid crowded areas due to reports of an "imminent threat" as Belgium-based jihadists have been increasingly linked to the devastating attacks in Paris.

Terror alert shuts Brussels metro

Investigators are working around the clock to track Salah Abdeslam, one of the gunmen who is still on the loose after a coordinated wave of attacks on Parisian nightspots that left 130 dead.

The carnage has put all of Europe on edge as it emerged dangerous jihadists slipped between countries unnoticed, prompting the EU to rush through reforms to tighten border checks in its cherished passport-free Schengen zone. Turkey has detained a Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin, Ahmet Dahmani, 26, who is believed to have helped choose the sites for the Paris attacks, the Dogan news agency reported today.

The United Nations Security Council yesterday authorised nations to "take all necessary measures" to fight Islamic State jihadists and other extremist groups after a wave of terror attacks across the world that has left hundreds dead in recent weeks.

The UN resolution came as jihadist gunmen with an Al-Qaeda branch besieged a luxury hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako killing 21 people. Mali was struck a week after Paris and Beirut -- where 44 where killed in IS bombings -- and three weeks after IS downed a Russian plane killing 224 people.

In grieving Paris, citizens defiantly poured into the streets and onto cafe terraces Friday night to mark one week since the carnage with a noisy minute of non-silence as urged by several artists in the country.

Outside La Belle Equipe restaurant where 18 were gunned down, a crowd stood under a light rain around a heap of flowers and candles singing the Marseillaise anthem before whooping and yelling at the top of their voices at 9:20 PM (local time), when the attacks started.

Benoit Seblain, drinking a beer at a cafe not far from the Bataclan where 89 people were massacred, admitted he was "a bit afraid."

"But we told ourselves we have to try and live like we did before," he told AFP. The country has been shaken to its core by a dramatic week which began with the attacks and saw a violent shootout between police and jihadists holed up in a Paris apartment.

Suspected attack ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in the police assault along with his cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen and an unidentified suicide bomber.

(AFP) 

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