Belgian police shot and killed a man suspected of murdering two Swedish football fans as they investigate a possible terrorist-related motive.
(Bloomberg) — Belgian police shot and killed a man suspected of murdering two Swedish football fans as they investigate a possible terrorist-related motive.
Belgian prosecutors said Tuesday morning that a man identified as the suspected shooter died after being taken to the hospital.
The weapon believed to be used in the attack was found on the suspect, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told VRT TV.
One victim was Swedish, another was of Swedish origin, and a third is in the hospital. Federal prosecutors said their nationality may have been a motivation in the shooting.
Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson said that “all signs point to this being a terror attack aimed at Sweden and Swedish citizens solely due to the fact of them being Swedish.”
“Swedish life and Swedish values are under attack,” Kristersson said at a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday. “This is a time for more security, caution and awareness. We cannot be too naive.”
European cities have been on high alert for possible extremist acts after the attacks by Hamas in Israel. But prosecutors said late Monday that there was no indication yet of a link to the conflict.
The 45-year-old Tunisian suspect was staying illegally in Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a news conference Tuesday morning.
A video circulated on social media site with a man declaring in Arabic that he shot several Swedes out of revenge and was inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group. The authenticity of the video couldn’t be determined immediately.
Read more: Why Koran Burning Has Sweden and Denmark in a Knot: QuickTake
Sweden’s Security Services said in a separate statement that the country’s “high” terror threat level — four on a five-point scale — remains in place following the attack in Belgium’s capital. The level was raised to the second highest level in August following a series of Koran burnings that sparked anger in the Muslim world.
“The threat picture against Sweden has gradually changed and the threat of attacks from, above all, violent Islamist extremism has increased,” the Security Services said.
Sweden and Belgium were playing a European Championship qualifier football match in Brussels, but the game was suspended at halftime after the news of the shooting. Fans were asked to remain in the stadium for safety, and were eventually evacuated.
Brussels raised its threat level to four, which asks people to avoid non-essential movement. Some schools were closed on Tuesday, but flights are continuing in and out of Brussels, and public transit is operating normally.
“Terrorism will never win,” De Croo told reporters.
–With assistance from Jorge Valero, Maria Tadeo, Charles Daly and Jonas Ekblom.
(Updates with comments from Sweden’s Prime Minister, Security Services.)
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