STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Explosion rocks Brussels train station, suspect 'neutralised'

An explosion rocked the central train station in Brussels on Tuesday and a man was shot by security as scenes of terror returned to the European capital.

Published: 21st June 2017 02:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st June 2017 03:35 AM   |  A+A-

Belgian Army soldiers patrol in front of Central Station in Brussels after a reported explosion on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.(AP)

By AFP

BRUSSELS: An explosion rocked the central train station in Brussels on Tuesday and a man was shot by security as scenes of terror returned to the European capital.

A suspect shouted out "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) before causing the blast, a witness said.

Belgium's national crisis centre said the suspect had been "neutralised" and the situation was under control.

The confrontation in Belgium comes a day after a man mowed down Muslims near a mosque in London, and a radical Islamist on a terror watch-list rammed a car laden with weapons into a police vehicle in Paris.

The incident happened just before 1900 GMT, causing Brussel's Gare Centrale to be evacuated. The nearby Grand Place, a major tourist destination, was also evacuated.

"There was man and a small explosion took place near him. Soldiers neutralised him with gunfire. No one (else) was injured," federal police spokesman Peter De Waele said by phone to AFP.

Social media images showed an intense yet contained ball of fire in the station's underground arrival hall.

"I went down to the mezzanine level, someone was shouting. Then he cried 'Allahu Akbar', and he blew up a trolley," Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a railway sorting agent, told reporters.

"I was behind a wall when it exploded. I went down and alerted my colleagues to evacuate everyone. He (the suspect) was still around but after that we didn't see him."

Van Herrewegen added: "It wasn't exactly a big explosion but the impact was pretty big. People were running away."

He described the suspect as well-built and tanned with short hair, wearing a white shirt and jeans.

"I saw that he had something on him because I could see wires emerging, so it may have been a suicide vest," Van Herrewegen said.

Under control

About an hour after the events, the situation was "under control", the federal crisis centre said in a tweet.

Gare Centrale is largely underground, located in the heart of Brussels, a few blocks from the Grand Place and the Manneken Pis statue.

It appeared that the suspect was neutralised by soldiers who have been deployed at railway stations and government buildings in Brussels since the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks when a link to Belgium was first established.

Firefighters were called to the scene after the report of the small explosion, RTBF broadcaster reported. 

Brussels has been on high alert since Islamic State suicide bombers struck the city's airport and metro in March 2016, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.

The Islamic State group claimed the attacks, which were carried out by the same jihadist cell behind the November 2016 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

Belgium suffered a further shock last August when a machete-wielding man shouting "Allahu akbar" attacked two policewomen in the industrial town of Charleroi, before being shot dead.

The country's law enforcement agencies and intelligence services came under intense scrutiny after the attacks for apparently missing a series of leads after the Paris attacks that could have led to the Brussels bombers.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp