VIDEO: A suspected suicide bomber who reportedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before triggering an explosion at Brussels Central Station has been gunned down and killed by soldiers.
Shots rang out soon after 8pm on Tuesday as police and soldiers moved in to ‘neutralise’ the man, who was said to be ‘threatening rail passengers’ in what is being treated as a terrorist incident.
The attacker’s body was left lying in the station for several hours as medics could not approach him for fear that the explosives strapped to him could go off any second, official authorities said.
Initial reports suggested the suspect – described as being ‘tanned, well-built and in his 30s’ – was wearing an explosive vest or rucksack, while witnesses later claimed he tried to blow up a trolley or a suitcase.
Terrified passengers inside the station ran towards the tracks as they tried to avoid the blast, while crying tourists outside fled in panic. Within a few minutes the busy nearby shops and restaurants were shut down.
A bomb squad performed a controlled explosion of a bomb belt the suspect had on at the Central Station and evacuated the city’s famed Grand Place square 650 feet away while checking to see if there more hazards.
The suspect was shot by soldiers who were already patrolling the station when they swooped on the attacker. There were no other casualties and police quickly said the situation was ‘under control’.
The latest attack comes a year after three suicide bombers hit the capital of Brussels, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.
In the fresh attack in the Belgian capital’s Central station, a source said the attacker was ‘shot several times’ and it appears that he ‘triggered a device’ – leading to hundreds of people being evacuated.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said authorities are treating the incident ‘as a terrorist attack’ that was foiled when the suspect was ‘neutralized.’
Medics were unable to attend the attacker for several hours out of fear he could be carrying explosives and authorities only could confirm his death once a bomb squad had finished its work.
Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a railway employee, said the bomber was very agitated and ‘screaming’ about jihadists before blowing up on a ‘small suitcase’ next to him.
‘He [The suspect] screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great), and detonated a small suitcase he was holding next to him. I was behind a wall when it exploded,’ he said.
‘I went down and alerted my colleagues to evacuate everyone. He was still around but after that we didn’t see him. It wasn’t exactly a big explosion but the impact was pretty big. People were running away.’
Mr Herrewegen – who had heard shouting at the station’s mezzanine level – described the suspect as being between 30 and 35, well-built and tanned with short hair, and wearing a white shirt and jeans.
He added: ‘I saw that he had something on him because I could see wires emerging, so it may have been a suicide vest.’