Belgium identifies Brussels station bomber
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 26, 2017,
Jun 26, 2017, 8:24
Belgian authorities on Wednesday identified the bomber killed by soldiers in a busy Brussels rail station as a 36-year-old Moroccan national.
The attacker shot dead at Brussels Central Station had a nail bomb that failed to detonate properly. Authorities reported no casualties, apart from the attacker who was killed in the confrontation.
Sky's Europe Correspondent Mark Stone, at the scene, said: "Authorities this morning are extremely relieved that soldiers managed to deal with what could have been a horrendous incident".
CBS News is reporting the Moroccan man was shot after he charged at the authorities following the failure of his bag - which reportedly contained nails - to completely explode.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Brussels police confirmed that only one person had been involved.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, left, and Belgium's Minister for the Interior Jan Jambon address the media during a press conference at the prime ministers office in Brussels on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
He then ran back up to the concourse where commuters had been milling around and rushed toward a soldier shouting "Allahu akbar" - God is greater, in Arabic.
Walking up to a group of passengers, prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said, "he grabbed his suitcase, while shouting and causing a partial explosion".
Brussels has been on high alert since twin suicide bombings killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and airport in March 2016.
Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a railway sorting agent who was in the station as the incident unfolded, said: "I went down to the mezzanine level". Van der Sypt said the man did not have an explosive belt.
"I saw two policemen coming towards me and telling me in French to "get out, get out and go up the stairs", she told the Daily Record.
Jambon said the attack Tuesday evening could have been much worse because the "big explosion did not happen", adding more details about the device would be released shortly.
The Central Station is one of the busiest in the country and soldiers could be seen patrolling after the explosion.
Michel, who convened a National Security Council meeting for early on Wednesday, tweeted his thanks to the security forces and railway staff for their professionalism and courage. The suspected perpetrator was gunned down by soldiers nearly immediately after the explosion, ANP reports.
Belgium's Crisis Center, which monitors security threats in the country, said based on initial information it did not see a need to raise the country's terror threat to the highest level and kept it at the second-highest level.