Brussels explosion: Suspected suicide bomber shot dead after blast at Central Station
A suspected suicide bomber was gunned down by Belgian soldier after he allegedly tried to detonate explosives at Brussels Central Station in a “terror attack”, a federal prosecutor has said.
The unidentified man, reportedly carrying a suicide belt and a backpack full of explosives, detonated a small explosive inside the building before he was shot dead.
Police then evacuated the station and nearby the Grand Place “in seconds” according to witnesses.
One eyewitness reported that the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” and had seemed very agitated.
Nicolas Van Herreweghen, who works for Belgium’s national rail company, said the male suspect was yelling about jihadists before blowing up something on a baggage trolley.
He added that the man appeared to be 30 to 35 years of age.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said they were treating the incident as a “terror attack”.
Brussels prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch told the VRT network there was a small explosion at the station, one of the nation’s busiest, but the damage was limited.
She said at first sight no one else appeared to have been wounded.
However, the government agency which owns Belgium’s railways was warned by a train driver who saw people running across the rail lines inside the station, spokesman Arnaud Reymann told broadcaster RTL.
Rail company spokeswoman Elisa Roux said 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.
There have subsequently been incidents involving Islamist extremists in Paris and London, including this week’s attack by a van driver who tried to run down Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park.
Belgium’s Crisis Center, which monitors security threats in the country, says based on initial information it doesn’t see a need to raise the terror threat in the country to the highest level. – Additional reporting by AP
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