Antwerp driver 'had no history of radicalisation'

2017-03-23 21:02
Police officers patrol the Meir shopping area in Antwerp, Belgium after a car with French plates drove through the area at high speed. (Geert van den Wijngaert, AP)

Police officers patrol the Meir shopping area in Antwerp, Belgium after a car with French plates drove through the area at high speed. (Geert van den Wijngaert, AP)

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Lille - A Tunisia, identified only as Mohamed R, who was arrested for driving a car into a crowd in Belgium on Thursday, had not been previously flagged up as radicalised, a French investigation source said.

The incident in the port city of Antwerp came less than 24 hours after a man killed three people in London outside parliament, hitting two pedestrians with a car and then stabbing to death a policeman.

Mohamed R, 39, lives in the northern French city of Lens, not far from the Belgian border.

He had a criminal record but his offences were minor, the source said.

Residency papers

"He has an address in Lens and as far as we know at the moment, he is not known for large-scale criminal acts," the source said.

"His only previous convictions are minor, such as drunk driving or drug use".

Another source confirmed that the man has Tunisian nationality but has French residency papers.

Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters told a news conference that the man had tried to drive at "high speed" into a shopping street.

Authorities found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car.

Read more on:    belgium  |  france  |  security
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