Brussels train station blast being treated as terror attack

2017-06-21 06:02
In this image taken from video, police cars block a road near the train station in central Brussels. (AP)

In this image taken from video, police cars block a road near the train station in central Brussels. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - Belgian authorities said they foiled a "terror attack" on Tuesday when soldiers shot and killed a suspect after a small explosion at a busy Brussels train station that continued a week of attacks in the capitals of Europe.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said soldiers "neutralised" a male suspect at the Central Station immediately after the explosion there on Tuesday night. The man lay still for several hours while a bomb squad checked whether he was armed with more explosives.

Prosecutor's spokesperson Ine Van Wymersch confirmed his death early on Wednesday and said no other explosives were found on his body. Some Belgian media had reported earlier that the suspect was wearing a bomb belt.

Belgium's Crisis Centre, which monitors security threats in the country, said based on initial information it did not see a need to raise the country's terror threat to the highest level and kept it at the second-highest level.

Authorities set up a wide perimeter around the station, located near the city's famed Grand Place square.

Agitated

Van der Sypt said no one else was injured besides the suspect and the damage from the explosion was limited. The attack, which took place during a rare heatwave in Belgium, came around 20:30, well after the evening rush hour had dissipated.

Nicolas Van Herreweghen, who works for Belgium's national rail company, said the male suspect was very agitated, yelling about jihadists and then "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before blowing up something on a baggage trolley.

He said the man appeared to be 30 to 35 years of age.

The government agency that owns Belgium's railways was warned by a train driver who saw people running across the rail lines inside the station, spokesperson Arnaud Reymann told broadcaster RTL.

National newspaper La Libre Belgique quoted the prosecutor's office as saying the suspect was wearing a backpack and an explosive belt. The information could not be immediately confirmed. Photos posted on social media showed a small fire in the station.

High alert

The Central Station is one of the busiest in the nation and soldiers could be seen patrolling there after the explosion. It was evacuated along with the Belgian capital's Grand Place, a major tourist site about 200 metres away.

Rail company spokesperson Elisa Roux said on Tuesday evening that trains were diverted from the station and buses sent out to take passengers to the area.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and at an airport in March 2016. Extra police and soldiers in camouflage gear have become a common sight in crowded areas.

There have been attacks in Paris and London in recent days, including the attack by a van driver who tried to run down worshippers outside a London mosque.

Read more on:    belgium  |  security

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

French Bulldog helps kids with facial differences

Lentil Bean is a french bulldog who was born with a severe cleft nose, lip and palate.

 
 

Paws

Weird things dogs do
Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.