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Threat level for Brussels lowered to second-highest level

The Belgian government is reducing the terror threat level for the capital Brussels to the second-highest level, interior minister Jan Jambon says.

Jambon said that OCAD, the organization tasked with determining the terror threat in Belgium, had decided to lower the threat level from 4 to 3, bringing it into line with the rest of the country. It comes as intelligence agencies no longer have indications that an attack is "imminent," though the threat remains severe.

Last Saturday, the Belgian government raised the threat level for Brussels to the highest possible level, citing a "severe and imminent threat" in connection with the deadly attacks in Paris. The move was linked to the ongoing manhunt for Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam, and authorities said there were fears that a number of people were ready to carry out a coordinated attack in Brussels.

The maximum alert level put the capital city and its surrounding municipalities in a virtual lockdown, resulting in the closure of schools, shops, the metro system, and the cancellation of events such as football matches and concerts. Scores of soldiers were deployed across the area, and a major police operation was carried out on Sunday night, but Abdeslam remains at large.

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