Saturday, February 24, 2024

Brussels shootings: police kill extremist suspect

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Authorities in Belgium’s capital shot and killed a Tunisian national on Tuesday, hours after authorities said he shot three Swedish soccer fans, killing two of them. In it, a Tunisian man claimed responsibility for the attack and posted a video online saying: The Koran was “a line that must not be crossed, for which one was willing to sacrifice oneself.”

Investigators are still trying to determine the motive behind Monday night’s attack. The attack took place not far from where the Belgian men’s soccer team was hosting Sweden in a European Championship qualifier.game suspended at halftime More than 35,000 fans were kept inside the stadium as a precaution while the gunman was on the run.

Amateur video of the attack posted on social media showed a man wearing a fluorescent orange vest park his scooter, pull out a large weapon and fire at people getting out of a taxi. He chased them into a building and shot them dead. He was also filmed calmly loading his weapon as a car slowly passed by.

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the deceased men were in their 60s and 70s, and the injured man, who was in his 70s, remains hospitalized.

Police patrol outside the King Baudouin Stadium after the match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended following a shooting incident in central Brussels, Monday, October 16, 2023. Belgian authorities raised the terror alert in the capital to the highest level late Monday. After two Swedes were shot dead in Brussels, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo pointed out a link to terrorism. The gunman remained at large.  (AP Photo/Sylvain Plagie)
Swedish supporters wait in the stands after the suspension of the Euro 2024 Group F qualifying football match between Belgium and Sweden at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday, October 16, 2023. The game was called off at half-time after two Swedes were killed in the shooting. Gunfire in central Brussels before kick-off.  (AP Photo/Gert Vanden Weingart)

Hours after the suspect disappeared during the night and an investigation was launched, Interior Minister Anneliese Verlinden posted on X (formerly Twitter): “The perpetrator of the terrorist attacks in Brussels has been identified and is dead.” did.

She thanked Belgium’s intelligence and security services, as well as the prosecutor’s office, for their “swift and decisive action”. The man was shot dead in the Skarbeek area, near the scene of the attack.

Federal prosecutors later said the suspect, a 45-year-old Tunisian man who was living in Belgium illegally, was found by a witness in a cafe in Skarbeek, whose name has not been released. When police arrived at the scene, the suspect was shot and killed as they tried to arrest him. Paramedics tried to save the man, but he later died in hospital.

Belgian police stand behind a restricted area near the site where a suspected Tunisian militant was shot dead hours after a manhunt on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. A suspected Tunisian extremist accused of killing two Swedish soccer fans has been shot dead. He brazenly attacked on the streets of Brussels before disappearing on Monday night.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Belgian police stand behind a restricted area near the scene where a suspected Tunisian militant was shot dead hours after a raid on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The weapon used in the assault, an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and a bag containing clothing, were recovered at the scene, Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said at a news conference Tuesday night. He said police launched four raids on Tuesday morning and detained two people for questioning due to possible ties to the suspect, and authorities suspect he may have been assisted. He said he has not ruled it out.

“At this stage of the investigation, it cannot be considered that this terrorist attack was organized by a large-scale terrorist network,” Van Leeuw said. “The hypothesis that he was acting as a lone wolf seems more likely.”

Police said they also found two handguns and a knife near where the suspect lived.

At a pre-dawn news conference, Prime Minister Alexander Decroo called the attack “an absolutely despicable act” and said security had been stepped up in Brussels. The momentum was particularly strong in places associated with Swedish communities and near the French border in southern Belgium.

“Last night, three of us left for what was supposed to be a great soccer party. Two of us lost our lives in a brutal terrorist attack,” Decroo said. “Their lives were cut short on the run for good by extreme brutality.”

This attack is war between israel and hamas.French anti-terrorism prosecutors said on Tuesday Suspected Islamic extremists have previously declared allegiance to Islamic State fatally stabbing a teacher Last week’s French school attack. But Belgian prosecutors said there was nothing to suggest Monday’s attacks were connected to what was happening in Israel and Gaza.

At a press conference in Stockholm, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said: “Everything points to this being a terrorist attack against Sweden and the Swedish people, simply because they are Swedish.” He said the suspect had been in Sweden from time to time, but was not listed in Swedish police records.

Supporters leave the venue after the Euro 2024 Group F qualifying soccer match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday, October 16, 2023. The match was called off at half-time after two Swedes were killed in the collision. Gunfire in central Brussels before kick-off.  (AP Photo/Gert Vanden Weingart)

Supporters leave the venue after the Euro 2024 Group F qualifying football match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

“It’s not an unusual pattern of movement,” Christerson added. “We have openness in Europe. This is one of the important reasons why we need to pay attention to the external borders of the EU, otherwise people will move easily between European countries. Because it will happen.”

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson issued a statement on Monday, October 17, 2023, regarding the shooting of two Swedish soccer fans in Brussels on Monday in Stockholm's Rosenbad. Belgian police on Tuesday shot dead a suspected Tunisian extremist accused of killing two Swedish soccer fans. Fans brazenly engage in gunfire on the streets of Brussels, then disappear into the darkness.  (Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency, via AP)

Van Leeuw said the suspect posted a video online in which he claimed to have killed three Swedes and claimed that the Quran was a “red line that you should not cross, that you are prepared to sacrifice yourself.”

Sweden raised its terror alert level to its second-highest level in August. A series of public Quran burnings Incidents involving Iraqi refugees living in Sweden led to threats from Islamic militants.

Asked if this could be a motive, federal prosecutor Eric Van Duys told The Associated Press it was too early to say. “It seems easy to make this connection, but we need proof. We need proof.”

Questions remain as to how a man whose name is in police records, who was believed to have been radicalized and was being asked to leave the country, was able to obtain such a weapon and carry out such an attack. ing.

Supporters console themselves in the stands after the Euro 2024 Group F qualifying soccer match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Monday, October 16, 2023. The game was called off at half-time due to the deaths of two Swedes. A shooting incident occurred in central Brussels before kick-off.  (AP Photo/Gert Vanden Weingart)

Supporters console themselves in the stands after the Euro 2024 Group F qualifying soccer match between Belgium and Sweden was called off at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday, October 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

According to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborn, the suspect was denied asylum in 2019. The suspect was known to police and was suspected of involvement in human trafficking, being in Belgium illegally and being a danger to national security.

Information provided to Belgian authorities by an unidentified foreign government suggests that the man had become radicalized and intended to travel abroad to join the jihad. However, Belgian authorities were unable to prove this, so he was never listed as dangerous.

Nicole de Moor, Belgium’s secretary of state for asylum, said authorities were unable to locate the man in order to arrange his deportation because he disappeared after his asylum request was rejected.

Jesper Tengros, a spokesperson for the Swedish Immigration Agency, told Swedish Public Radio that the suspected gunman lived in Sweden from 2012 to 2014 and spent part of that period in prison before being transferred to Dublin rules. He said the shipments were sent to other EU member states based on this. Tenglos did not say what crime the man was convicted of or which country he would be sent to after completing his sentence.

Brussels’ terror alert level was raised to the highest level, “4,” immediately after the attack, and then lowered to “3,” which indicates a medium threat, along with the rest of Belgium.

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Associated Press writers Samuel Petrekin in Stockholm and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen contributed to this report.





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