In Paris, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he will ask for parliamentary approval for the UK to join airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria. The raids in Belgium began late yesterday, capping a tense weekend that saw hundreds of troops patrolling streets and authorities hunting for one or more suspected extremists, including Salah Abdeslam, a fugitive since being named a suspect in the Paris attacks that killed 130 and wounded hundreds of others on November 13.

Between Sunday night and midday Monday, 21 people were detained.

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The Belgian government kept the capital on the highest state of alert in the face of what it described as a 'serious and imminent' threat, preventing a return to normal in the city that is also host to the European Union's main institutions.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said 19 raids were carried out yesterday in Molenbeek, home to many of the Paris attackers, and other boroughs of Brussels, and three raids were carried out in Charleroi. Abdeslam was not among those arrested. Van Der Sypt said no firearms or explosives were found.

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