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There have been a small number of terror attacks across Belgium over the last few years Horst J. Meuter/Wikimedia Commons

A warning has been issued for travellers heading to Belgium over possible terrorist attacks and a rise in organised crime.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has urged holidaymakers to "remain vigilant" amid an increase in violent crimes in Belgium, a European country popular for breaks and is just over an hour away from the UK.

In its travel advisory, the UK Foreign Office has stated that there are "regular incidents of violent crime among organised crime gangs involved in drug trafficking, particularly in Antwerp, Brussels and other large cities" in Belgium.

While British nationals are not being targeted specifically, the FCDO has still urged its people to be alert when visiting Belgium.

"The risk mostly affects those involved in drug crime, but remain vigilant if you suspect illegal activity. Follow the advice of local authorities. There have been reports of truck and van drivers being approached at parking lots or service stations by organised crime groups and asked to smuggle products to the UK," added FCDO in its advisory.

The UK Foreign Office has asked travellers to report to the local authorities if they come across anything "suspicious".

"The emergency number 112 is the only emergency number you can call free of charge throughout Europe if you need urgent help from the fire services, a medical team, or the police," Belgium's Federal Police wrote on its official website.

Meanwhile, the FCDO has also cautioned travellers that terrorist attacks "could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreign nationals such as: on public transport, in national and international transport hubs, in international institutions, in places of worship, in other places visited by foreigners".

The FCDO, which regularly keeps its people updated especially those travelling from the UK to any number of 226 countries and territories, has advised people to "follow the advice of local authorities" during their time in Belgium.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of terror attacks across Belgium over the last few years. The main threat is reportedly from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Previous incidents in the country have included fatal attacks against civilians and law enforcement:

  • On 16 October 2023, two people were killed and one seriously injured in a terrorism-related shooting incident in Brussels
  • In 2022, a police officer was killed and another injured in an alleged terrorist incident in Brussels
  • In 2018, 2 police officers and a passer-by were killed in a shooting in the city of Liège in a suspected terrorist incident

To ensure the safety of its people and tourists, the Belgian Government has set the national threat level at 3 "Serious" and the FCDO has warned that there could be "an increased police presence, and additional safety measures in place".