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Brussels still on lockdown, as police detain 21 across Belgium in past day

A Belgian Army soldier patrols on a main boulevard in Brussels on Sunday.
A Belgian Army soldier patrols on a main boulevard in Brussels on Sunday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

With Brussels essentially shut down, authorities have been carrying out raids in an attempt to stop what they suspect is an imminent threat of a terrorist attack on Belgium's capital city.

This morning, the government said five more people had been detained during several raids in Brussels and in Liege. As NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports, that's in addition to the 16 people detained in more than 20 house-to-house searches last night.

Dina reports that police said they fired shots at a suspect in a vehicle who authorities say tried to ram police.

Last night, police said that Salah Abdeslam, one of the main suspects of the Paris attacks, was not among those held. As we've reported, French authorities say Abdeslam played a key role in the attacks, renting the cars and hotel rooms used by some of the attackers.

Meanwhile, in Paris, President François Hollande met with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The BBC reports:

"The UK prime minister said Britain stood beside France in its efforts to tackle the so-called Islamic State group.

"'It is clear that we are coming together to tackle this brutal organisation,' he said at the Elysee Palace.

"'Nous sommes solidaires avec vous,' he added in French [We are united with you]."

Cameron and Hollande also visited the Bataclan Theater to honor the 89 people who were killed there during the Paris attacks a little more than a week ago.


In a joint press conference with Hollande, Cameron added that the U.K. would do all in its power "to help our friend and ally France."

To that end, Reuters reports that Cameron will make a case to further escalate the war against the Islamic State.

Reuters reports that Cameron will ask Parliament to authorize British attacks in Syria. The U.K. is already bombing the Islamic State in Iraq. The wire service adds:

"Cameron is keen to avoid a repeat of 2013 when he lost a crunch parliamentary vote on air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

"'The prime minister will seek support across parliament for strikes against that terrorist organization in Syria. Frankly Britain has never been a country that stands on the sidelines and relies on others to defend us,' finance minister George Osborne told BBC television on Sunday.

"'The timetable is this: In the coming week the prime minister will come to the House of Commons ... we will make the case as a government, we will allow MPs to digest that response and then we will see where we stand.'"

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