Belgium saw 41 per cent increase in terrorist and extremist threats in 2023

A total of 332 reports of potential threats related to terrorism or extremism were registered in Belgium last year, compared with 236 in the previous year. This is an increase of 41 per cent, according to figures published on Friday by the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA).

The increase is mainly due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the attack in Brussels on 16 October, according to CUTA. Since that event, when a man shot dead two Swedish soccer fans, the overall terrorist threat level has risen from 2 to 3 on a scale of 4.

Level 3

Level 1 indicates a low threat and level 2 is an average threat. Belgium has been at level 3 for several months, which means a serious threat. Moving to level 4 would indicate a very serious threat. Based on this analysis, visible and less visible preventive and protective measures are taken to protect the population, key individuals and institutions.

Source: CUTA
Source: CUTA

Most threats were made by phone, email or anonymously. In the previous year, threats were generally made through social networking and messaging applications, the organisation said.

Around 55 per cent of reports were classified as low threat, while just over a third were classified as medium threat. About 7 per cent were classified as severe at some point. Only one was considered very serious and imminent: the attack on 16 October 2023.

Brussels area

As in 2022, most threat reports concerned the Brussels area, followed by Antwerp, Liège, Ghent and Mons. The majority of threats came from individuals intending to act alone. More than 40 per cent of threats were related to Islamist extremism.

Threats from abroad, particularly from regimes targeting Belgian political opponents, accounted for around 6 per cent of cases. Right-wing extremism was responsible for 5 per cent. The targets varied according to ideology, often targeting specific individuals, security services, political authorities or public buildings.



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