French police said Monday that a street cleaner has found an explosive belt without a detonator in a pile of rubble in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge, the Associated Press reported. That location is where Abdeslam’s cellphone was used on the day of the attacks, officials said.
Brussels has been at Belgium’s highest terror-alert level, which indicates that a threat is “imminent,” since Saturday.
“We fear an attack similar to the one in Paris,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said Sunday at a press conference, according to The New York Times. “A number of individuals could launch an attack on several locations in Brussels simultaneously.”
Michel said the decision to place Brussels on high alert was made after officials reviewed intelligence reports, but has not elaborated on the information.
This weekend, camouflage-clad, heavily armed soldiers patrolled the streets of Brussels, home to the European Union’s main institutions. Belgian authorities shut down the city’s metro on Saturday. All schools and some businesses were closed Monday. Belgium has warned citizens to stay away from shopping areas, train stations, and other public spaces, and the U.S. Embassy in Brussels has urged U.S. citizens there to stay at home.
“There’s no point in hiding it; there is a real threat,” Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told Belgian broadcaster VRT on Sunday, according to the Times.
The rest of Belgium remains at an alert level of 3, which means a threat is “possible and likely.”
Most of the Paris attackers died in the assault. In the days after, French police carried out dozens of operations in search of additional suspects. The alleged organizer of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, was killed when police stormed an apartment in the Paris suburb of St. Denis last week. Abaaoud, a Belgian citizen, had previously traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State. The terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
On Sunday, French police released a photo on Twitter of one of the three suicide bombers who detonated his vest outside the stadium and asked the public for help in identifying him. Officials have identified one of the suicide bombers as Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25. A Syrian passport was found near Al Mohammad’s body and his fingerprints were matched to those of someone who entered Europe through Greece last month. But Serbian police arrested a man with the same documents days after the attacks. The discovery illustrates the growing black market in fake Syrian passports, spawned by the Syrian civil war and the resulting refugee crisis.
Jambon said Sunday that Brussels’s threat alert is “unfortunately not” limited to Abdeslam, according to Reuters.
“It is a threat that goes beyond just that one person,” he said.“We’re looking at more things, that’s why we’ve put in place such a concentration of resources."
Security forces are focusing on the Belgian district of Molenbeek, a densely populated neighborhood that has become famous for being the home of several terrorist plotters.
“I notice that each time there is a link with Molenbeek,” Michel said shortly after the attacks, when officials determined several of the assailants were from Brussels.