Belgium Arrests Suspect in "Terror-Motivated" Killing of Two Swedes
On Tuesday morning, Belgian police arrested a man suspected of brutally murdering two Swedes. The shooter, believed to have terrorist motives, incited such panic in Brussels that the city's authorities canceled the Belgium-Sweden football match, detaining 35,000 fans at the stadium for several hours.
This was reported by France24.
Police spokesperson Eric Van Duyse announced that law enforcement "opened fire during the arrest" but did not specify whether the suspect was injured.
Earlier, Van Duyse mentioned that the investigation into the murders is focused on the "possible terrorist motive for the shooting" after a "statement of responsibility" was posted on social media.
"This individual claims to be inspired by the Islamic State," said Van Duyse. "The likely motive assumes the Swedish nationality of the victims." In August, Sweden raised its terrorist threat level to the second-highest after a series of public Quran burnings, resulting in threats from Islamic extremists.
"At this time, there is no indication of a possible link to the Israeli-Palestinian situation," reassured Van Dais, addressing the concerns of European countries about attacks related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Regarding the football match, as per Van Duyse, "urgent security measures were taken to protect Swedish fans" during the game at the national stadium near the shooting scene.
A little over two hours after the match was suspended, a message appeared on the stadium's large screen: "Fans, you can leave the stadium calmly."
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden stated: "A horrific shooting in Brussels; the criminal is actively being sought."
Amateur videos show a man arriving on a scooter with an orange fluorescent shell, abandoning it, and immediately opening fire on passersby. In addition to the two deceased Swedes, a local taxi driver was injured but is not in life-threatening condition.
Despite the loss of only two lives during the attack, which pales in comparison to the dozens in various European countries in recent years, the sense of fear immediately returned.
"I am appalled by the indiscriminate killing in central Brussels this evening," said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. "Terror and extremism cannot infiltrate our societies. People must feel safe. Hatred will not prevail."
The shooting took place during a period of heightened alert due to the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has increased tensions in European countries.
As previously reported by The Gaze, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Born raised the level of anti-terror alert to the maximum after a 20-year-old Chechen from Russia attacked school staff in the French city of Arras with a knife.