Antwerp driver 'had no history of radicalisation': Probe source

Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters told a news conference that the man had tried to drive at "high speed" into a shopping street.

Published: 23rd March 2017 11:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2017 11:46 PM   |  A+A-

Police and the bomb squad unit responded to a suspect package in the Antwerp station. | AP

By AFP

LILLE: A Tunisian man resident in France who was arrested for driving a car at a crowd of people in Belgium on Thursday had not been previously flagged up as radicalised, a French investigation source said.

The incident in the port city of Antwerp came less than 24 hours after a man killed three people in London outside parliament, hitting two pedestrians with a car and then stabbing to death a policeman.

The man in Antwerp, identified only as Mohamed R., 39, lives in the northern French city of Lens, not far from the Belgian border.

He had a criminal record but his offences were minor, the source said.

"He has an address in Lens and as far as we know at the moment, he is not known for large-scale criminal acts," the source said.

"His only previous convictions are minor, such as drunk driving or drug use.

"He was not on the (French) list of known extremists and according to the initial findings of the investigation had not been flagged up as being radicalised."

Another source confirmed that the man has Tunisian nationality but has French residency papers.

Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters told a news conference that the man had tried to drive at "high speed" into a shopping street. 

Authorities found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car.

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