Belgium holds five over New Year plot

BRUSSELS - Belgian police were holding five people early Friday over an alleged New Year plot in Brussels and also arrested a 10th suspect over last month’s attacks in Paris.

Both Brussels and Paris cancelled annual New Year’s Eve fireworks displays as soldiers and police ramped up security in European capitals over perceived terror threats.

There were instead plenty of private firework displays throughout the Belgian capital at midnight, accompanied by cheers and loud music, but the celebrations were vastly diminished compared to last year’s.

“People are scared. They are staying home and avoiding public places,” a taxi driver told AFP in the Ixelles neighbourhood as he waited for customers who he estimated have dropped 40 per cent this year.

Police detained six people on Thursday for questioning over an alleged plot to strike “emblematic sites” in Brussels during the year-end festivities.

But three of them were released after interviews and the others were ordered provisionally held for another 24 hours as the investigation continues, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

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