Belgium heightens terror alert level

The body that keeps tabs on the terrorist threat in Belgium, the OCAD, has just heightened the country's terror alert level from 2 to 3 across Brussels. The OCAD that analyses the security situation here believes that there is now a greater terrorist threat following Friday night's stabbing of two police officers on the Brussels metro.

The OCAD says that the terrorist threat in Brussels is now serious. Until yesterday alert level 3 only affected the Brussels borough Sint-Jans-Molenbeek where the arrest of a woman wearing a full veil sparked rioting. Level 3 has now been extended to the entire Brussels Region.

It was a Muslim extremist who attacked two police officers on the metro in Molenbeek last night. One of the victims, a Muslim police officer, is still in hospital after suffering internal bleeding.

The attacker is being questioned again on Saturday. He told police that he wanted to protest against Belgian policy towards Muslims.

Earlier in the week the spokesman of the Muslim extremist organisation Sharia4Belgium was arrested. He faces charges of incitement to violence. Fouad Belkacem distributed a video about the woman who was arrested in Molenbeek for wearing a full veil in violation of Belgian law.

The Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist), has invited the mayors of Belgium's fifteen biggest cities to talks to discuss Muslim extremism. The Prime Minister wants to make it clear that the government intends to step up the fight against Muslim fundamentalism. The talks will centre on improved co-ordination of security policies. Representatives of the Associations of Towns and Cities as well as the Interior and Justice Ministers will take part too.

Meanwhile at a meeting in Molenbeek representatives of Belgium's Muslim community met to distance themselves from the violence.