Security high at Brussels stations after man exploded device

Postado Junho 22, 2017

Police in Belgium have raided the home of the attack suspect who was killed at the Brussels Central Station and took bags full of evidence with them.

A federal magistrate in Belgium says that the suspect who was shot and killed by soldiers at the Brussels central station had Moroccan nationality and wasn't known to authorities for terror activities.

Several media outlets reported unnamed sources as saying the device that failed to fully explode was filled with nails and was similar to the bombs used in the attacks at Brussels airport and on the city's metro that killed 32 people in March 2016.

The suspected attacker, who was shot dead by soldiers patrolling the station, was reportedly a 37-year-old man from Molenbeek. A mobile police command unit and several officers were still at the station, an Associated Press photographer said.

The man was from the Molenbeek neighborhood, the home and transit point for numerous suspects linked to attacks in Brussels and in Paris in November 2015.

The man had entered the station at 8:39 p.m., five minutes before leaving his suitcase in the ticket hall, Van Der Sypt said.

Social media images showed an intense yet contained ball of fire in a almost empty underground arrival hall. It was evacuated along with the Belgian capital's Grand Place, a major tourist site about 200 meters (656 feet) away.

"There were people crying, there were people shouting", said Elisa Roux, a spokeswoman for the Belgian rail company SNCB.

"I went down to the mezzanine level, someone was shouting".

He then appeared to yell "Allahu Akbar" in Arabic and to detonate something on a luggage trolley. I went down and alerted my colleagues to evacuate everyone. [The suspect] was still around but after that, we didn't see him.

Van Herrewegen added: "It wasn't exactly a big explosion but the impact was pretty big".

He described the suspect as well-built and tanned with short hair, wearing a white shirt and jeans.

"There's a lot of military here, but the situation seems to be contained", Aazami said.

Belgium's Crisis Center, which monitors security threats in the country, said based on initial information it did not see a need to raise the country's terror threat to the highest level and kept it at the second-highest level.

"The centre of Brussels is calm", mayor Philippe Close said in a tweet. The soldiers fatally shot the attacker.

The country's law enforcement agencies and intelligence services came under intense scrutiny after the attacks for apparently missing a series of leads after the Paris attacks that could have led to the Brussels bombers.