Brussels shooting: 'Europe shaken' after two Swedes shot dead

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Two Swedish nationals have been shot dead and a third person injured in Brussels, in an attack which prosecutors are treating as terrorism.

The Belgium-Sweden Euro 2024 qualifier football match being played in the city was abandoned. Brussels is on its highest terror alert as the gunman, who appeared to have an assault rifle, remains at large.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who was on a visit to Albania, said: "Europe has been shaken."

Federal prosecutors say a terrorism inquiry has been opened over the shooting on Boulevard d'Ypres, 5km (3 miles) from the King Baudoin Stadium.

A spokesman for the prosecutor, Eric van Duyse, urged the public to "go home and stay at home as long as the threat has not been eradicated".

He said a man claiming to be the attacker had said in a video on social media he had been inspired by the Islamic State group. A video shows an Arabic-speaking man saying he carried out the attack in the name of God and that he killed three people. The video and others uploaded during the attack are being verified by police, the BBC has been told.

A social media video shared by newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday, but not verified by BBC News, shows a man wearing a fluorescent jacket get off a scooter armed with what appears to be an assault rifle and enter a nearby glass-fronted building. He appears to then shoot at least one person. Police and emergency services cordoned off nearby roads following the shooting which happened at around 19:00 (17:00 GMT).

Belgian media outlets report that the two people killed were wearing football shirts of the Swedish national team.
Swedish footballers told Uefa they did not want to play the second half of the match and the Belgian team agreed, according to Swedish broadcaster TV6.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo went on social media to offer his "sincere condolences to the Swedish PM following tonight's harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels".

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones," he said. "As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on social media her thoughts were "with the families of the two victims of the despicable attack in Brussels".

"I extend my heartfelt support to the Belgian police, so they swiftly apprehend the suspect," she said. "Together, we stand united against terror."

BBC
 
This is horrific, people like this give Muslims a bad image in Europe where there is already so much Islamophobia as it is
 
Gun laws need to be much strickter. We regularly get loonies in USA going around shooting innocent people. We certainly don't want this in Europe
 

Brussels: Suspected gunman who killed two people before football match dies​

Police have shot dead a suspected gunman who killed two people before an international football match in Brussels.

Belgium's interior minister Annelies Verlinden told VRT radio "we have the good news that we found the individual" - but also said she could not rule out that he had accomplices.

The weapon believed to have been used in the fatal shootings before Belgium's match with Sweden last night has been recovered, she said.

Federal prosecutors confirmed to Sky News the suspected attacker had died.

He has been named by Belgian media as Abdesalem L - a 45-year-old Tunisian national - who is said to have arrived in Italy's Lampedusa Island in 2011, according to an Italian government source.

The suspect was shot in a cafe during a police operation in the Schaerbeek area of the city on Tuesday morning.

It followed a tip-off by a member of the public, who alerted the emergency services after spotting him in the cafe.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate the suspect after he was shot, and he was rushed to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

"The perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Brussels has been identified and has died," Ms Verlinden wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"We would like to thank the intelligence and security services, as well as the public prosecutor's office, for their swift and decisive action last night and this morning."

The Public Prosecutor's Office of Brussels is investigating the shooting.

A military weapon and a bag of clothes were found inside the cafe.

The fatal shootings on Monday evening caused Belgium's Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden to be abandoned at half-time.

Fans were also kept in the stadium as armed officers searched for the suspected attacker.

The two people killed were Swedish - and a third person was wounded in the attack.

The terror alert in Brussels was raised to four, the highest level after the shootings happened about three miles (5km) from the 50,000-seater King Baudouin Stadium shortly after 7pm local time - around 45 minutes before kick-off.

It was reduced to level three after the suspect was "neutralised", eliminating an "imminent threat", Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo told a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after the incident, a man who claimed to be the gunman appeared on social media in a video in which he claimed to be a member of Islamic State (IS) and a "fighter for Allah".

He also claimed he had carried out the attack in "revenge in the name of Muslims".

One Belgium newspaper said a witness heard the gunman shout "Allahu Akbar" - "God is great" in Arabic - before the shots were fired.

Another video, reported to be of the incident, which has not been verified by Sky News, showed a gunman in a fluorescent orange jacket and a white helmet chasing a man into a building before shooting at him.

After his arrival in Lampedusa Island, the suspect is said to have spent time in Italy before travelling to Sweden - where he is thought to have been expelled.

He returned to Italy where, in 2016, he was identified by police in Bologna as a radicalised subject who was monitored by intelligence services.

He then moved to Belgium, unsuccessfully seeking asylum in Belgium in November 2019, justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told reporters.

He was considered a risk to state security and was known to police over people smuggling and living illegally in the country.

He was also suspected of threatening a person in an asylum centre and a hearing on that incident had been due to take place on Tuesday, Mr Van Quickenborne added.

Belgian asylum state secretary Nicole de Moor said the suspect disappeared after his asylum application was refused. As a result, authorities were unable to locate him to organise his deportation.

A spokesperson for Belgium's federal prosecutor's office told reporters the investigation was focusing on "a possible terrorist motivation for the shooting".

Sweden has in recent months faced rioting following a string of Koran-burning incidents in both the country itself and in neighbouring Denmark.

As a result, Sweden raised its terrorism alert to the second-highest level in August.

Muslim leaders in Sweden have called on the government to find ways to stop the Koran burnings, but police have allowed them, citing freedom of speech.

Sweden's SAPO police security service said on Tuesday its assessment of the threat level against Sweden remained unchanged.

However, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said it was time to boost security measures.

"I understand that many Swedes are afraid and angry," he said, adding: "This is a time for more security, we can't be naive."

 

Brussels: Suspected gunman who killed two people before football match dies​

Police have shot dead a suspected gunman who killed two people before an international football match in Brussels.

Belgium's interior minister Annelies Verlinden told VRT radio "we have the good news that we found the individual" - but also said she could not rule out that he had accomplices.

The weapon believed to have been used in the fatal shootings before Belgium's match with Sweden last night has been recovered, she said.

Federal prosecutors confirmed to Sky News the suspected attacker had died.

He has been named by Belgian media as Abdesalem L - a 45-year-old Tunisian national - who is said to have arrived in Italy's Lampedusa Island in 2011, according to an Italian government source.

The suspect was shot in a cafe during a police operation in the Schaerbeek area of the city on Tuesday morning.

It followed a tip-off by a member of the public, who alerted the emergency services after spotting him in the cafe.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate the suspect after he was shot, and he was rushed to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

"The perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Brussels has been identified and has died," Ms Verlinden wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"We would like to thank the intelligence and security services, as well as the public prosecutor's office, for their swift and decisive action last night and this morning."

The Public Prosecutor's Office of Brussels is investigating the shooting.

A military weapon and a bag of clothes were found inside the cafe.

The fatal shootings on Monday evening caused Belgium's Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden to be abandoned at half-time.

Fans were also kept in the stadium as armed officers searched for the suspected attacker.

The two people killed were Swedish - and a third person was wounded in the attack.

The terror alert in Brussels was raised to four, the highest level after the shootings happened about three miles (5km) from the 50,000-seater King Baudouin Stadium shortly after 7pm local time - around 45 minutes before kick-off.

It was reduced to level three after the suspect was "neutralised", eliminating an "imminent threat", Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo told a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after the incident, a man who claimed to be the gunman appeared on social media in a video in which he claimed to be a member of Islamic State (IS) and a "fighter for Allah".

He also claimed he had carried out the attack in "revenge in the name of Muslims".

One Belgium newspaper said a witness heard the gunman shout "Allahu Akbar" - "God is great" in Arabic - before the shots were fired.

Another video, reported to be of the incident, which has not been verified by Sky News, showed a gunman in a fluorescent orange jacket and a white helmet chasing a man into a building before shooting at him.

After his arrival in Lampedusa Island, the suspect is said to have spent time in Italy before travelling to Sweden - where he is thought to have been expelled.

He returned to Italy where, in 2016, he was identified by police in Bologna as a radicalised subject who was monitored by intelligence services.

He then moved to Belgium, unsuccessfully seeking asylum in Belgium in November 2019, justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told reporters.

He was considered a risk to state security and was known to police over people smuggling and living illegally in the country.

He was also suspected of threatening a person in an asylum centre and a hearing on that incident had been due to take place on Tuesday, Mr Van Quickenborne added.

Belgian asylum state secretary Nicole de Moor said the suspect disappeared after his asylum application was refused. As a result, authorities were unable to locate him to organise his deportation.

A spokesperson for Belgium's federal prosecutor's office told reporters the investigation was focusing on "a possible terrorist motivation for the shooting".

Sweden has in recent months faced rioting following a string of Koran-burning incidents in both the country itself and in neighbouring Denmark.

As a result, Sweden raised its terrorism alert to the second-highest level in August.

Muslim leaders in Sweden have called on the government to find ways to stop the Koran burnings, but police have allowed them, citing freedom of speech.

Sweden's SAPO police security service said on Tuesday its assessment of the threat level against Sweden remained unchanged.

However, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said it was time to boost security measures.

"I understand that many Swedes are afraid and angry," he said, adding: "This is a time for more security, we can't be naive."

The radical suspect was known to intelligence agencies and yet they did nothing to stop him. :salute
 
This does not look good. I live in Europe and there is definitely a growing sentiment against muslims, thanks to such nutjobs. It has grown radically in the past two-three years. Even the liberals are now starting to lose their patience.
With extreme right wing parties gaining support everywhere, I fear there will be a violent backlash against muslim immigrants. Needless to say, the worst affected by any such backlash will be innocent muslims who have nothing to do with all of this.
 
This does not look good. I live in Europe and there is definitely a growing sentiment against muslims, thanks to such nutjobs. It has grown radically in the past two-three years. Even the liberals are now starting to lose their patience.
With extreme right wing parties gaining support everywhere, I fear there will be a violent backlash against muslim immigrants. Needless to say, the worst affected by any such backlash will be innocent muslims who have nothing to do with all of this.
Sadly agree
 
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