Brussels main train station evacuated, person 'neutralized' by soldiers guarding site

Police raced to the scene, and soldiers were pictured at the cordon outside the city's main train terminal, after reports of a blast on Tuesday.

Central Station was evacuated and closed along with two other stations in the Belgian capital.

Then came what were probably shots fired at the suspect by one of the army patrols that have been an accepted fixture of Brussels' public spaces since Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in and around Paris in November 2015.

Police say the man had set off a small explosion which drew the attention of soldiers patrolling the area before the station was evacuated.

Local media quoted some witnesses as saying that the explosion was caused by a man with an explosive belt.

Police tweeted to say the "incident involving an individual" was under control and there were no other casualties.

Photos posted on social media showed a small fire in the station, which was evacuated along with the main Brussels square.

Nicolas Van Herreweghen, who works for Belgium's national rail company, said the male suspect was very agitated, yelling about jihadists and then "Allahu akbar", Arabic for "God is great", before blowing up something on a baggage trolley.

"The suspect has been neutralised by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion", he said.

"I went down the mezzanine level, someone was shouting".

"The suspect was neutralized by soldiers", Van Der Sypt said.

A large number of police and soldiers are deployed around these two sites in the heart of Brussels.

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

It said it was keeping the country's terror alert at level 3, the second highest.

Remy Bonnaffe, a 23-year-old lawyer who was waiting on the concourse for a train home to Ghent, said he was startled by an explosion as he listened to music on his headphones. All of this was confined to the Brussels Train Station, and it appears that there was only one suspect, not multiple people involved.

  • Julie Sanders