Brussels lowers its security alert level
The security alert level for Brussels was lowered Thursday after six days at the maximum level following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, media reported. The country's coordinating unit for threat analysis scaled its assessment for the Belgian capital from a Level 4 alert — signaling a serious and imminent threat — down to Level 3, which indicates a "serious threat." The rest of the country has been at Level 3 since Saturday. "This is good news for social life and mobility in Brussels, but this is not over, it is only a start," said Rudi Vervoort, who leads the Brussels regional government. Several of the suspects in the Paris terrorist attacks, in which 130 people were killed, have links to Belgium. Five suspects have been detained in Belgium, while the country has issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth person. Salah Abdeslam, a French citizen who lived in Belgium and is the brother of a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks, is still at large.
Germany to SEND planes and ships to fight ISIL
Germany decided Thursday it could no longer stay on the sidelines of the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, announcing plans to send planes and a navy ship to help the new international military alliance against ISIL. The decision to send four to six reconnaissance jets and the carrier was made at a meeting on Thursday of senior ministers in Berlin. The planned military action was a necessary strike against the militant terrorists, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers from her conservative Christian Democrats and their Bavarian-based Christian Social Union allies. "It's not possible to fight Islamic State with words: You have to fight them militarily," Merkel said earlier. "We have to end the talk and act." According to media reports, Paris had wanted the jets to provide reconnaissance backup for the French military mission against ISIL.