After the deadly shooting of two Swedes in Brussels, which Prime Minister Alexander De Croo claimed was related to “terrorism,” Belgian officials increased the terror warning to its maximum level in the capital late Monday.
The rest of the country is now under the second-highest level of terror alert, according to the OCAD anti-terror center.
The Belgian-Swedish soccer match was abandoned midway through, and Laura Demullier of the OCAD center stated in an interview that the top concern for officials right now was to get the thousands of spectators out of the stadium safely.
Over 35,000 spectators were watching the game in the stadium, and the shooter was still on the loose when the killings occurred, which took place about 3 miles (5 kilometers) away.
Demullier added that the populace “needs to be actively vigilant and avoid any unnecessary travel.”
The terror level was originally set at 2, which indicates an average threat, and has now been raised to the top 4, which indicates a “threat is extremely serious.” Following tonight’s horrific attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels, I just sent my profound condolences to @SwedishPM, De Croo said. On X, formerly known as Twitter, he continued, “As close partners, the fight against terrorism is a joint one.” Whether the shooting was connected to the international clamor over the Israel-Hamas conflict was unclear at first.
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden stated, “A horrible shooting occurred in Brussels, and the perpetrator is actively being tracked down,” adding that she will be participating in government discussions at the National Crisis Center.
Amateur videos of a man using a big gun to fire repeatedly near a station were broadcast by the media. The two casualties were Swedes, according to a police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Police quickly rushed to the site and cordoned off the surrounding area, according to police spokeswoman Ilse Vande Keere. She declined to provide further detail about the shooting’s circumstances.
The incident occurred during a period of heightened alertness related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, which has increased tension in several European countries.
The capital of Belgium has seen an uptick in violence concurrently due to an increase in global drug trafficking.