Gunman kills two Swedes in Brussels, prompting terror alert

Belgian police officers from the forensic service search for evidence in a street after two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on October 16, 2023 evening by a suspect who is on the run, the Belgian capital's prosecutor's office said. (Photo/AFP)

A gunman fatally shot two Swedes in Brussels late Monday, prompting authorities to halt a Sweden-Belgium football match nearby and place the capital on its highest terror alert level. The gunman remained at large.

The killings happened some 5 kilometres from a stadium where over 35,000 fans were watching a Belgium-Sweden football match, Belgium's anti-terror centre said. The match was suspended halfway through.

“The population needs to be actively vigilant and avoid any unnecessary travel,” anti-terror centre spokeswoman Laura Demullier said, adding that the top priority for authorities was to get the thousands of fans safely out of the King Baudouin Stadium.

The centre also said that the terror alert for the rest of the country was raised to its second-highest level. Raising the terror level in the capital to the top 4 rating means that a “threat is extremely serious.” It previously stood at 2, which means the threat was average.

“I have just offered my sincere condolences to @SwedishPM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels," De Croo said. He added on X, formerly known as Twitter, “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”

'Horrible shooting'

It was not immediately clear if the shooting was linked to the international uproar over Israel's attack on Gaza.

“A horrible shooting in Brussels, and the perpetrator is actively being tracked down,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, adding that she was joining government talks at the National Crisis Center.

Media reports aired amateur videos showing a man shooting several times near a station using a large weapon.

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters, said the two victims were Swedes.

Police spokeswoman Ilse Vande Keere said officers arrived soon at the scene and sealed off the immediate neighbourhood. She declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the shooting.

The shooting came at a time of increased vigilance linked to attacks in Israel that have heightened tensions in several European nations. At the same time, the Belgian capital has been the scene of increased violence linked to increasing international drug trafficking.


Source: TRT