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US Military Restricts Travel to Brussels, Orders Shelter in Place

A Belgian Army soldier patrols a main shopping street in Brussels on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)
A Belgian Army soldier patrols a main shopping street in Brussels on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse)

U.S. Defense Department personnel, including dependents and family members, are barred from travel to Brussels until Tuesday morning and those already in Belgium's capital have been ordered to remain in their homes, U.S. European Command announced Saturday.

"This restriction applies to all DoD elements and personnel which include military personnel, DoD civilian employees, contractors, and command-sponsored dependents/family members currently outside Belgium," Eucom officials posted on their Facebook page. "For those already in Brussels, everyone is to shelter in place and remain at home."

Belgium is home to about 1,870 Pentagon employees and their families, including 680 military personnel, 400 civilian workers and 790 dependents and family members, according to a personnel document from June.

A travel ban issued last week bars U.S. military personnel, Pentagon civilians and command-sponsored dependents from traveling to France. That restriction was given no estimated end date.

Other U.S. citizens in the area have been advised by the State Department to avoid public places and, if possible, stay home.

"The U.S. Embassy in Brussels informs U.S. citizens that the Belgium Government maintains its threat level for Brussels at Level 4 (imminent attack)," the State Department posted on its website. "For the rest of Belgium, the threat level remains at Level 3 (high threat). The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to remain at home."

Belgium officials on Friday announced they expected a "serious and imminent attack" in the capital over the weekend. A series of police raids in Brussels and another nearby city resulted in 16 arrests as officials continue to hunt suspects in the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.

Brussels is home to NATO's official headquarters, though NATO's military Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is located about 50 miles south of the city.

--Amy Bushatz can be reached at Amy.Bushatz@military.com.