Explosion at Brussels train station: One suspect reportedly shot
Wednesday - 21/06/2017 05:39
A SMALL explosion has rocked Brussels Central Station after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a bomb belt, sending terrified passengers fleeing.
Belgian troops patrolling the station swooped in to “neutralise” the man, who was threatening civilians and wearing an “explosive belt”.
Het Laatste Nieuws, a local tabloid, reported witnesses saying a man shouted “Allahu Akbar” before the small blast after 9pm Tuesday (5am Wednesday AEST).
Soldiers ran toward the spot, saw wires protruding from the man’s clothes, and shot him “several times” after he appeared to “trigger a device”, according to the report.
The suspect was said to be wearing a rucksack packed with explosives at Belgium’s busiest railway station.
Police sources said the attacker was seriously injured in the blast and subsequently died from his wounds.
Police tweeted to say the “incident involving an individual” was under control and there were no other casualties.
Belgian prosecutors are treating this as a terror incident.
“This is considered as a terrorist attack,” federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference outside Brussels Gare Centrale station.
“The suspect has been neutralised by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion.”
Van Der Sypt said there were “no other victims.”
He added: “We have no idea of his identity for the time being.”
Twitter user Rémy Bonnaffé shared a picture, purportedly taken inside the station, at the time of the explosion.
“Two loud detonations in Brussels Central. For my nose. Then quick popping after each other,” he wrote.
A bomb squad performed a controlled explosion of a bomb belt the suspect had at the Central Station, Belgian broadcaster VTM television reported. Authorities set up a wide perimeter around the station, located near the city’s famed Grand Place square.
Witness Ludoivic Hampton said something that sounded like a “bomb” went off just 30 metres away from him.
“When you’re walking through central station and something that looked and sounded like a bomb goes off 30 metres away from you. I’m lucky to be alive,” he said.
Arash Aazami arrived at the station just after the explosion.
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.
“As we entered into the station, we were evacuated loudly by some security personnel,” he told the BBC.
“Looked around, saw people running in the streets, trying to seek refuge and decided to do the same ourselves.”
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, spokesman Arnaud Reymann told broadcaster RTL.