Islamic State (Isis) fighters, battle-hardened from the war in Syria, are believed to be planning an imminent attack on targets in Belgium and France, Belgian intelligence services have been warned. A note disclosed to the Belgian newspaper Dernier Heure has shown information regarding planned IS attacks on mainland Europe.
"Fighters have left Syria about a-week-and-a-half [ago] to reach Europe via Turkey and Greece [by] boat without passports. They would separate into two groups – one for Belgium and one in France – to go commit attacks in pairs," the communication warned.
"According to the information received, these people are already in possession of the necessary weapons and their action is imminent."
The newspaper has learned that among possible targets for the attacks are a large Brussels shopping centre, a restaurant of no particular location, an American fast-food chain and a police station.
Earlier in May, the US warned that the Euro 2016 tournament, which is currently taking place in Paris, could be a target for terror attacks. IS has threatened to attack France during the month-long event.
The director of Belgium's intelligence service has said the piece of intelligence needs to be considered in the proper context. "Our mission, in conjunction with our partners, is to contextualise, analyse and verify their reliability. We have concluded that with respect to this information, there was yet no need to increase the level of threat against targets that are mentioned."
The stark warning emerges days after IS-inspired killer Larossi Abballa stabbed 42-year-old Jean-Baptiste Salvaing to death in front of his wife and their three-year-old son outside their home in Magnanville, north-west of Paris, on Monday night (13 June 2016).
The 25-year-old reportedly went on to take the officer's wife, Jessica, and son hostage before posting a 13-minute live video on Facebook in which he swore allegiance to IS and considered what to do with the young child.