Brussels on high alert as two Swedes killed in shooting and suspect remains at large | Belgium
Brussels is on its highest level of security alert after two Swedes were shot dead in in the centre of the city, and Belgium’s prime minister suggested the attack was linked to “terrorism”.
“I have just offered my sincere condolences tofollowing tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels,” Alexander De Croo tweeted, adding: “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”
Police warned the suspect remained on the run.
The alleged gunman, wearing a fluorescent orange jacket, fled the scene after using an automatic rifle, according to a video shared by the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Media reports aired amateur videos showing a man firing several shots near a station using a large weapon, and Belgian broadcasters said the two victims were Swedes.
The Swedish national football team had been scheduled to play Belgium at Heysel Stadium later in the evening, about 3 miles (5km) away but the match was cancelled, and the crowd was instructed to stay inside the stadium.
“A horrible shooting in Brussels, and the perpetrator is actively being tracked down,” said the interior minister, Annelies Verlinden, adding that she was joining government talks at the National Crisis Centre.
A video claiming responsibility for the shooting was circulating on social media, in which a man speaks Arabic, a source close to the case said.
A police spokesperson, Ilse Vande Keere, said officers arrived at the scene and sealed off the immediate neighbourhood. She declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the shooting.
The threat level in the Belgian capital was raised to level 4, and in the rest of the country to level 3.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, which represents member states in Europe, said: “The heart of Europe is hit by violence.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims of the deadly attack in the centre of Brussels.”
My support for the Belgian authorities and security services who are monitoring the situation.”
EU sources said concerns had been growing that the Israeli-Hamas conflict would increase security risks in Europe, with a rise in antisemitic attacks already seen in the UK.