The Israel-Hamas war has created a long-term threat to European security that is likely to last beyond any ceasefire, Belgium’s Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden has warned.
Several countries, including Belgium, have raised their security threat level after terror attacks carried out by lone actors in the wake of the renewed conflict in the Middle East.
Belgian analysts have picked up intelligence on activities stemming from the Gaza war, prompting the government to send additional police to certain areas, such as the Jewish neighborhood in Antwerp, the country’s second-biggest city.
In an interview with POLITICO, Verlinden said it was hard to predict when the country would be able to lower the threat level again, which has been at the second-highest rating since the October 16 terror attack, when a Tunisian gunman shot and killed two Swedish football fans in Brussels. She said she expected the increased police presence “will go on for a while”.
“Even if there would be a cease-fire, lasting or not, you notice that there’s a flammability,” Verlinden said, referring to the situation in Gaza. “I spoke to people from the Jewish community, and to people from the Palestinian community. Those traumas, those feelings are so deep, that this of course can go on for a long time.”
Ever since raising the threat level, which implies a call for greater vigilance, there have been more notifications of antisemitic incidents in Belgium, Verlinden added.