Belgium activates the crisis center after the shooting deaths of at least two people in Brussels

The Belgian Government activated a crisis center tonight after the murder of at least two people in the center of Brussels at the hands of an armed individual, who fled and who appears to have acted for terrorist purposes. .

The shooting occurred shortly after 7:00 p.m. local time (5:00 p.m. GMT) on a central street in the Belgian capital, when the individual began shooting with a large-caliber weapon and killed at least two people of Swedish nationality, according to police sources. , which privilege the terrorist track.

After the attack, the Police reinforced security around the King Baudouin stadium, where the soccer match between the Belgian and Swedish national teams for the 2024 Euro Cup qualification is being played tonight.

The spokesman for the national crisis center, Antoine Iseux, indicated that the Coordination Body for Threat Analysis (Ocam) had raised the Brussels-capital region to level 4 (the highest) threat and the rest of Belgium to level 3. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has resumed the investigation, confirming its terrorist nature.

The events that shook Brussels

The attack occurred at the intersection formed by Sainctelette Square and the Ninth Line and Ypres boulevards.

In a video recorded by a witness, which is circulating online and reproduced by the sports newspaper DH, the man is seen arriving alone on a small motorcycle, throws it to the ground and begins to shoot rapidly in the street with a large weapon. caliber.

The attacker, who was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and a white helmet, first shot at the two deceased people, who were in a taxi and were wearing Swedish national team shirts.

Then he chased several people who were trying to take refuge in the building of the Flemish Housing Fund building, at whom he shot and, at one of them, he shot again when she was already lying on the ground and finally he came out and ran away. the escape on his motorcycle.

According to the media, the attacker’s jacket is similar to that used by municipal cleaning staff in Brussels.

Several witnesses indicated that the man shouted “Allah akbar” while shooting his victims.

The attacker and his messages

The alleged attacker, Slayem Slouma, later posted a video on social media in which he claimed to belong to the Islamic State and boasted of having executed “infidels.”

In his very violent speech, he said that he shot two people to “avenge the Muslims and that we live and die for our religion.”

Emergency and police services are mobilized to try to locate the aggressor.

The Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, and those responsible for the Ministry of the Interior and Justice went tonight to the National Crisis Center to monitor the situation, where the mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, is also present.

By Perviz Iqbal