Belgium travel warning: UK holidaymakers warned to 'remain vigilant' amid rise in organised crime and 'high threat' of terrorist attack

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UK holidaymakers travelling to Belgium are being urged to "remain vigilant" due to a rise in organised crime and a "high threat" of a terrorist attack

UK tourists have been issued a travel warning for a European destination that is popular for city breaks. Belgium is just over an hour away from the UK but there are fresh warnings about violent crime and the threat of terrorism.

Holidaymakers in Belgium have been warned by the UK government to "remain vigilant" amidst the ongoing threat of organised crime. Gov.uk told UK holidaymakers: "There are regular incidents of violent crime among organised crime gangs involved in drug trafficking, particularly in Antwerp, Brussels and other large cities."

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British tourists are not being specifically targeted but the advice is that they should exercise caution when visiting Belgium. Gov.uk said: "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 (‘window tapping’)."

UK holidaymakers travelling to Belgium are being urged to "remain vigilant" due to a rise in organised crime and a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)UK holidaymakers travelling to Belgium are being urged to "remain vigilant" due to a rise in organised crime and a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
UK holidaymakers travelling to Belgium are being urged to "remain vigilant" due to a rise in organised crime and a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

If UK tourists see anything "suspicious" they have been warned to report it to the local authorities. The official website of the Federal Police reads: "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.

"If you call the emergency number 112 for the police in Belgium, you will be transferred to the emergency number 101. You may therefore waste valuable time." For emergency assistance, call 101 directly.

With regard to terrorism, the Foreign Office warns that terrorists are “very likely to carry out attacks in Belgium”. Government advised: "There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times. UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack."

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The Foreign Office warns that UK tourists should be “vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local authorities” adding that there “have been some high-profile terrorist attacks across Belgium.” The Foreign Office says: “The main threat is from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Previous incidents have included fatal attacks against civilians and law enforcement”.

It warns that terrorism 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 and in other places visited by foreigners. For further information on safety and security for Britons in Belgium, including terrorism, demonstrations and strikes, transport, laws and cultural differences, and crime, holidaymakers can consult Gov.uk

In March 2016, 32 people died and more than 300 were injured in two terrorist attacks in Brussels carried out by the Islamic State (IS). Two suicide bombers detonated bombs at Brussels Airport, and one detonated a bomb on a train leaving Maelbeek metro station in the city's European Quarter.

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