Belgium tightens up security after failed Brussels bombing

Wednesday, June 21, 2017|10:20 a.m.

BRUSSELS– Belgium tightened up security much more on Wednesday to counter worries that lone opponents could strike anywhere and at any time, a day after a failed battle by a male shouting “Allahu akbar” at a Brussels train station put the country on edge.

A soldier eliminated the assaulter, who had actually tried to trigger an effective nail bomb that could have caused fatalities among the two dozen or so tourists examining train times on a public display board at Brussels Central Station on Tuesday, officials stated.

Comparable attacks by lone aggressors causing maximum trouble but few victims have also happened in London and Paris in the past number of days, putting European capitals on alert on the eve of the busy summer season traveler season.

The Brussels attacker was a 36-year-old Moroccan nationwide unknowned to authorities for being associated with fear activities, federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt informed press reporters.

His office said that the enemy had compassion with the Islamic State group and added that cops who robbed his house found “chemicals and material that can be utilized to make dynamites.”

The statement from the federal district attorney’s workplace likewise stated that the 36-year-old “most likely made the bomb” at his home in the Molenbeek area.

Molenbeek was the house and transit point for many of the suspects connected to attacks in Brussels and in Paris in November 2015.

The guy in Tuesday’s attack charged at soldiers at Brussels Central Station after his suitcase, containing nails and gas canisters, cannot totally explode, Van der Sypt stated. The man then shouted “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is fantastic,” prior to a soldier shot him dead, the magistrate said. Nobody else was hurt.

“It was clear he wished to trigger much more damage than exactly what occurred,” Van der Sypt said. “The bag exploded twice but it might have been a lot worse.”

Witness Remy Bonnaffe had simply walked away from the timetable board when he heard a loud bang and saw a flame while he was on his phone. Still unsure whether it was an attack, he took some time to take a picture however rushed off when he heard a 2nd blast and shots.

“There should have been some 20, 30 individuals spread around the screens there,” Bonnaffe stated in an interview with The Associated Press, painting a picture of the scope of carnage that could have occurred.

Belgium has actually been on high alert considering that suicide bombers killed 32 individuals at the Brussels airport and a subway station on March 22, 2016.

Security remained high around rail facilities and preparations were underway to boost security for a Coldplay show at the 50,000-seat King Baudouin Stadium later on Wednesday.

“In 3 years we have been confronted with numerous attacks or efforts and we say the zero threat does not exist,” Prime Minister Charles Michel stated after a specially-convened security conference.

Central Station re-opened Wednesday early morning. A mobile cops command unit and several officers were still at the station, an Associated Press professional photographer said.

Burn marks stayed on the floor at the scene, as employees continued to clean up and paint the area.

Belgium’s Crisis Center said Wednesday that it sees no need to raise the nationwide security alert level, which has actually been on its second-highest sounded for more than a year. It stated that no public occasions would be canceled but that additional authorities and soldiers have been set in motion.

Virginia Mayo in Brussels contributed to this report.

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