Belgian PM pledges R6bn to fight terrorism

Charles Michel told Parliament that government will introduce laws to jail jihadists returning from Syria.

Members of French police special forces in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on 18 November, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital five days ago. At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted in the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has pledged a security crackdown and an extra R6 billion to fight extremist violence while rejecting criticism of Belgium's security services in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Michel has told Parliament that the government will introduce laws to jail jihadists returning from Syria, ban hate preachers and close down unregistered places of worship in response to last week's attacks.

French President Francois Hollande has said the coordinated suicide bombings and shootings that killed at least 129 people had been planned in Belgium.

French media quoted an intelligence source as saying 'the Belgians just aren't up to it'.

Michel stopped short of acknowledging the attacks had been organised from Belgium, instead blaming "Franco-Belgian cells".

Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says South Africa's government condemns the attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Nigeria over the last week.

"South Africa stands firm in strong condemnation in all attacks targeting innocent civilians and we reiterate our stance that terrorism in whatever form cannot be condoned."

President Jacob Zuma will be leading a delegation to Paris at the end of this month for global climate change talks.

LISTEN: French police increase efforts in Paris attack manhunt.


Authorities have begun six raids in Brussels which are connected to one of the suicide bombers in last Friday's attacks.

The ongoing operation is targeting those linked to Bilal Hadfi, who detonated an explosives belt outside France's national stadium.

This undated and unlocated image shows French national Bilal Hadfi, 20, one of the suicide bombers who blew himself outside the Stade de France stadium during the Paris attacks on 13 November. Picture: AFP.

The sting comes after Michel unveiled a €400 million package of new anti-terror measures following the Paris attacks.

While the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks remains at large, police in Belgium have carried out raids at six addresses in the suburb of Molenbeek, where several arrests have been made.

Last night members of the mainly immigrant neighbourhood held a candlelight vigil.

Earlier yesterday, French police carried out a seven-hour raid on an apartment believed to be housing the mastermind of the attacks.