World

Brussels cancels New Year's Eve celebrations amid terrorism fears

​In the midst of fears of terrorist attacks over the year-end holidays, Brussels has opted to stay safe by cancelling its New Year's Eve celebrations.

Belgium is not alone - many European cities are on high alert amid terrorism fears. Turkish police detained two Islamic State suspects over a plot to attack its capital of Ankara.

Belgian authorities said that the planned firework display and festivities to welcome the New Year, which saw an attendance of 100,000 people last year, would not go ahead.

Mayor Yvan Mayeur said: "Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel the fireworks and all that was planned for (New Year's Eve)... It's better not to take any risks."

Two people were arrested on Tuesday (Dec 29) on suspicion of preparing attacks on "emblematic sites" in Brussels during the celebrations.  On top of that, another man was questioned over links to last month's Paris attacks.

Belgian authorities have so far detained nine men they believe are linked to the Paris attacks, including four accused of helping Paris bombings' suspect Salah Abdeslam flee from the crime scene.

Meanwhile, adding to the woes in Belgium, Brussels police is investigating reports that soldiers and police held an orgy while their colleagues hunted for terror suspects following the lockdown after the Nov 13 Paris attacks.

Eight soldiers and two female police officers allegedly engaged in an "orgy" at a police station on Nov 21 at the Belgian capital, which was virtually shut down over fears of an imminent terrorist attack.

Following the Nov 13 attacks in Paris, Europe is on high alert.

Paris will also be calling off its annual fireworks display on the Champs-Elysees. Additionally, 11,000 police, soldiers and firefighters will patrol the French capital.

Moscow's Red Square, where people typically gather to ring in the new year, will be closed to party-goers. Vienna has also beefed up security ahead of the celebrations.

Source: AFP

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