Man arrested trying to drive into crowd in Belgium

2017-03-23 16:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Brussels - Belgian police arrested a man on Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd at high-speed in a shopping area in the port city of Antwerp, a police chief said.

The man was of north African origin and used a car with French registration plates, Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters said.

The incident came a day after an attack on the British parliament killed three people plus the attacker, as well as after the first anniversary of the Brussels attacks in which 32 people died.

Belgian security forces found a rifle as well as bladed weapons in the car prosecutors said.

"Different arms were found in the boot - bladed weapons, a riot gun (rifle) and a container of liquid that is still unidentified," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"The suspect is Mohamed R., born on May 8, 1977, of French nationality and a resident of France," the statement said.

"A vehicle with French plates has tried to drive at high speed into the Meir (shopping street). A man in camouflage was taken away," Muyters told a news conference.

"The pedestrians had to jump aside," he said.

"My gratitude on behalf of all Antwerp to the soldiers who have intervened, the police services and the special intervention force," Antwerp mayor Bart de Wever tweeted.

Belgian authorities say they have raised security in the port of Antwerp since the incident at the busy shopping street.

Once the car was intercepted at the port docks and the man arrested, authorities raised security in the centre of town on Thursday, in places where people normally gather, Muyters said.

No further information could be given, he said. Prime Minister Charles Michel said that "we remain vigilant. Our security services have done excellent work."

Read more on:    belgium  |  security
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