‘Severe terror alert’ issued in Belgium


Two Swedish citizens were shot dead in Brussels on Monday evening. The Belgian prime minister labeled the attack as “terrorism”.

The attack comes just days after a knife attack on teachers at a school in France.

The attack in Belgium took place shortly before a football match between Belgium and Sweden. The two victims were wearing soccer shirts from the Swedish national team when an armed man opened fire on them with an automatic rifle in the city center before the soccer match.

A third person was seriously injured during the attack, but Belgian officials say the person is not in a critical condition.

The attacker fled on a scooter after the attack and is still at large.

The European Group F qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was forced to stop at half-time last night and around 35,000 fans had to leave the King Baudouin Stadium.

Police officers provided extra protection to Swedish fans at the match and Sweden’s national players were escorted directly to the airport.

The Belgian authorities have since raised its terror alert to level four or “very serious”. The level is the highest and currently applies in Brussels. A level three applies at this stage for the rest of Belgium.

A man, who identified himself as the attacker, says (in Arabic) in a video posted on social media that he was inspired by the Islamic State.

He claims in the video that the Swedish nationality of his victims was his motivation behind the attack.

Several Belgian media have since identified the suspect as 45-year-old Abdesalem L of Tunisian origin who lives in Brussels.

The federal prosecutor in charge of terrorism cases launched an investigation. Police are currently investigating only one suspect based on preliminary information.

At this stage, there appears to be no connection with the attack in Brussels and the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.

Sweden was involved in a bitter dispute with Muslim countries earlier this year after several incidents where the Koran, Islam’s holy book, was burned.