December 2, 2023

By Lorne Prepare dinner, Sylvain Plazy and Raf Casert | Related Press

BRUSSELS — Authorities within the Belgian capital shot and killed a Tunisian nationwide on Tuesday hours after they are saying he gunned down three Swedish soccer followers, killing two of them, and posted a video on-line during which he claimed credit score for the assault and mentioned the Quran was “a crimson line for which he is able to sacrifice himself.”

Investigators are nonetheless making an attempt to find out the motive for Monday night time’s assault, which occurred not removed from the place Belgium’s males’s soccer workforce was internet hosting Sweden in a European Championships qualifier. The match was suspended at halftime and the greater than 35,000 followers have been stored contained in the stadium as a precaution whereas the attacker was at massive.

Novice movies of the assault posted on social media confirmed a person carrying an orange fluorescent vest pull up on a scooter, take out a big weapon and open fireplace on individuals getting out of a taxi. He chased them right into a constructing to gun them down. He was additionally filmed calmly loading his weapon as vehicles drove by slowly.

Sweden’s international ministry mentioned the boys who have been killed have been of their 60s and 70s, and the person who was wounded is in his 70s and stays hospitalized.

Hours after the suspect disappeared into the night time and a manhunt was launched, Inside Minister Annelies Verlinden posted on X, previously Twitter, that “the perpetrator of the terrorist assault in Brussels has been recognized and has died.”

She thanked Belgium’s intelligence and safety companies, in addition to prosecutors, “for his or her swift and decisive motion.” The person was shot within the Schaerbeek neighborhood close to the place the assault occurred.

Federal prosecutors mentioned later that the suspect, a 45-year-old Tunisian man who had been dwelling in Belgium illegally and whose title hasn’t been launched, was discovered after a witness noticed him in a Schaerbeek cafe. Police arrived on the scene and the suspect was shot as they tried to arrest him. First responders tried to avoid wasting the person, however he later died in hospital.

The weapon used within the assault, an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle, and a bag of garments have been recovered on the scene, federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw mentioned at a Tuesday night information convention. Police launched 4 raids Tuesday morning and detained two individuals for questioning over their attainable hyperlinks to the suspect, he mentioned, noting that authorities haven’t dominated out the likelihood that he may need had assist.

“It doesn’t appear on the stage of the investigation that the terrorist assault was organized by a big terror community,” Van Leeuw mentioned. “The speculation that he was appearing as a lone wolf appears extra possible.”

Police additionally discovered two handguns and a knife near the place the suspect had been dwelling, he mentioned.

At a pre-dawn information convention, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo known as the assault an act of “whole cowardice” and mentioned safety had been beefed up in Brussels. It was noticeably boosted round locations linked to the Swedish neighborhood and at Belgium’s southern border with France.

“Final night time, three individuals left for what was speculated to be a beautiful soccer social gathering. Two of them misplaced their lives in a brutal terrorist assault,” De Croo mentioned. “Their lives have been reduce brief in full flight, reduce down by excessive brutality.”

The assault comes amid heightened world tensions over the struggle between Israel and Hamas. France’s anti-terror prosecutor mentioned Tuesday {that a} suspected Islamic extremist declared allegiance to the Islamic State group earlier than fatally stabbing a trainer at a French faculty assault final week. Nonetheless, Belgian prosecutors mentioned nothing means that Monday’s assault was linked to what’s occurring in Israel and Gaza.

At a information convention in Stockholm, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson mentioned that “every little thing signifies it is a terrorist assault towards Sweden and Swedish residents, simply because they’re Swedish.” He mentioned the suspect had often stayed in Sweden however was not on police recordsdata there.

“It’s not an uncommon sample to maneuver round,” Kristersson added. “We have now an openness in Europe, which is without doubt one of the vital explanation why we have to keep watch over the EU’s exterior border as a result of in any other case individuals can simply transfer between European international locations.”

Van Leeuw mentioned the suspect posted a video on-line claiming to have killed three Swedish individuals and saying the Quran was “a crimson line for which he is able to sacrifice himself.”

Sweden raised its terror alert to the second-highest stage in August after a collection of public Quran burnings by an Iraqi refugee dwelling in Sweden resulted in threats from Islamic militant teams.

Requested if this is perhaps a attainable motive, federal prosecutor Eric Van Duyse instructed The Related Press that it’s too early to inform. “The connection appears simple to make, however we will need to have proof, we will need to have proof.”