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Belgium ready to call in army to boost security: PM

Belgium’s government is ready to call in troops to increase security after a huge police swoop against a suspected Islamist cell that was planning attacks on police, Prime Minister Charles Michel said Friday.

“The army will be available to reinforce our levels of security,” Michel said after a special cabinet meeting, which discussed other steps such as isolating Islamist prisoners in special sections in jails.

The government raised the threat alert to three on a scale of four on Thursday, providing the basis for it to use the military, Interior Minister Jan Jambon said.

“A company of 150 men stands ready for deployment,” Jambon said.

Defence Minister Steven Vandeput said the men could deploy very quickly and would remain in place for “as long as the government believes it is necessary.”

This would be the first time the army has been called on to bolster security on Belgium’s streets since attacks in the 1980s by extreme leftist groups.