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European Parliament headquarters evacuated after bomb alert

European Parliament headquarters evacuated after bomb alert

Brussels: Offices in the headquarters complex of the European Parliament here were evacuated Monday after a suspiciously-parked vehicle led to fears of a car bomb, parliamentary sources said.

Staff members, including employees of the European Parliament communications section, were transferred to the parliament's main building a few hundred metres away.

One person was later reported to have been detained by police for questioning concerning the car.

The evacuation was a "precautionary measure", said spokesperson for the European Parliament Jaume Duch and noted that there was "no indication" there were actually any explosives in the car.

Several buildings were evacuated by explosives experts of the Belgian security forces who finally towed the suspicious vehicle away.

The area remained under heavy guard by members of the Belgian police.

Since last month's terror attacks in Paris, the Belgian government has deployed troops around European Union institutions in Brussels in addition to embassies, synagogues and museums, and has increased the security alert in the country to level three of four.

Also on Monday, police inspected another car parked illegally in the vicinity of the US embassy, but it proved to be a false alarm.

Police strengthened the security perimeter around the embassy after a man left his car in front of the building, an area where parking is not allowed, La Dernière Heure newspaper reported.

That operation paralysed one of the main streets of the Belgian capital for about an hour, causing major traffic jams, until the police could verify that there was no danger.

"Yes, there have been an operation, but ultimately it was nothing," sources from Brussels police said, declining to provide more details.

A few hours before dawn Sunday, around 2,500 people were evicted from a public events venue in the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean district, which has been the scene of anti-jihadi operations by police in recent weeks.

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