Belgium bolsters border checks after attacks in Paris
The Belgian authorities said Saturday they have boosted checks on their borders, especially with France, following attacks in Paris that have left at least 120 people dead.
The authorities also urged increased vigilance for big events in Belgium over the weekend but said it was not necessary to increase the alert level.
"Reinforced border checks have been established on the borders within the framework especially of a close collaboration with the French authorities," according to Belgium's national centre for threat evaluation, OCAM.
OCAM said it was not necessary to raise the country's terror alert level and that the events in Paris did not appear to have a "direct effect" on Belgium.
"OCAM nevertheless confirmed the need for increased vigilance for big events," it said, adding Belgian authorities were following the situation closely.
"As a precaution, a heightened awareness of the police services was requested for all big events planned at the weekend in Belgium as well as for the football match on Tuesday," it added.
"People attending these big events are requested not to take baggage or bags in order to facilitate the increased checks that will be organised."
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel offered his condolences to the French people, tweeting: "Belgium is at France's side."
Interviewed live on French-language RTBF public radio, Michel said earlier he was "sickened by this tragedy".
A crisis centre within the Belgian interior ministry was activated overnight Friday and the Belgian security council will meet Saturday, Michel said.
"We will have to reinforce our effort" against terrorism, he said.
Belgians have also suffered from extremist attacks, including the killing of four people at the Jewish museum in central Brussels in 2014 by a jihadist gunman.
In January, the security forces killed two suspected jihadist fighters in Verviers, eastern Belgium, who they claimed were planning imminent attacks on police.
© 2015 AFP