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Belgium received over 200 terrorist and extremist threats last year

Belgium received 218 terrorist and extremist threats last year, according to the annual assessment of the country’s coordinating body for threat analysis (OCAM), published Thursday.

According to the report, in 2021 the overall threat level remained on average at medium throughout the year. Just over 50 percent of threats were rated as low-level, and one-third as medium-level.

One was deemed very serious and imminent. It related to an armed far-right extremist former military man, Jürgen Conings, who in May and June of last year, made threats against Belgian politicians and against virologist Marc Van Ranst.

OCAM operates under the Ministries of Justice and the Interior, and works alongside Belgium’s National Crisis Center and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the report, one-third of the threats were based on jihadist ideology, and one in 10 were right-wing extremist threats.

Social networks and text messaging applications remain the preferred means of issuing threats.

The majority of threat reports concerned a “lone actor” – someone having no structural link with terrorist or extremist groups.

It is the first time OCAM has disclosed the number of threats reported in Belgium in a year. A spokesperson said the number of reports has been stable on average over the last three years.

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