Terror Threat Douses Brussels Fireworks

Officials say large crowds still a risk
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 8:30 AM CST
The Christmas market bustles with people at the Saint Catherine's Place in downtown Brussels, in this Dec. 18, 2006 file photo. Traditional New Year's Eve fireworks in central Brussels have been canceled...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Brussels has canceled or cut short many of its traditional New Year's Eve events, saying the terror threat level is still too high to permit large gatherings. Last week, Belgian police arrested—and released on lack of evidence—14 people accused of plotting to break a convicted terrorist out of prison.

The country immediately raised security threat levels. "We've reviewed the situation and the conclusion is that there is no reason to scale back the current level of alert," said a security official. As a result, the usual year-end fireworks have been canceled and the Christmas market and nearby ice rink will close early rather than stay open all night. (Read more Belgium stories.)