Brussels mayor visits counterpart in Paris after attacks

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur met Tuesday with his Paris counterpart Anne Hidalgo, after both European capitals they govern experienced attacks carried out by extremists in the last six months.

Mayeur appeared in front of the Paris city council, which held a moment of silence to the victims of the Brussels attacks who died in explosions at the city's airport and a central subway.

"Our two cities have been attacked and wounded. Entire families [are] in mourning," Mayeur was quoted by AFP news agency as saying in front of the council. "Isolation and social segregation, ghettoisation sparked the tragedies we have experienced and, without doubt, will continue to experience."

The two mayors also discussed measures taken after the attacks. Paris was targeted in a string of shootings and bombings on November 13 that left 130 people dead, and the country has been in a state of emergency since.

Speaking on France Inter radio, Mayeur expressed his concerns about the state of the Belgian population: "How did our society produce children, born on our territory, who turn against our society?"

At least two of the attackers had been born in Belgium, and another held Belgian nationality.

Mayeur said he and Hidalgo would discuss measures targeted at youth. The mayor of Paris said in a statement posted on Twitter that she is confident, "life will triumph for the Belgians. We are at their side, we who have also experienced similar attacks."

Their meeting came amid indications that Islamist extremists have been sending text messages to recruit young people in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, which became notorious for its links to the Paris attacks.

"Our youth is in danger because of predators," local Molenbeek politician Jamal Ikazban warned on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday.

One such text message said: "My brother, why not join us to fight the Westerners? Make the right choice in your life," Ikazban warned in an earlier tweet on Sunday, notifying the Belgian police.

Last update: Tue, 29/03/2016 - 18:11

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