25 Mar 2016

More explosions in Brussels as police shoot terror suspect

Police shoot a man at a tram stop in Brussels as anti-terror raids are carried out across Europe.

Belgian policeman

A man was shot at the Meiser tram station in the Schaarbeek district after he refused police requests to show them the contents of a backpack.

The Mayor of Schaerbeek Bernard Clerfayt told journalists the operation was linked to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels and raids in France on Thursday evening.

Belgian public broadcaster RTBF said the man had a suitcase full of explosives.

Two small explosions were heard in Schaerbeek, along with the sound of shots being fired, at around 1pm. A third blast – thought to be a controlled explosion – followed at around 2.30pm.

Mobile phone footage filmed from two nearby apartments showed a bomb disposal robot approaching the man, who was lying on the ground. Police then dragged him to their vehicle.

Bomb disposal robot

A local resident, electrician Norman Kabir, said he saw a man carrying a backpack standing at a tram stop with a young girl, when he appeared to be shot in the legs by police.

Belgian prosecutors later said that a man shot and detained in Schaerbeek was linked to a planned attack in France, foiled by the French authorities on Thursday.

They said they had detained three in total people in Brussels on Friday in relation to the French attack plot. A second man was also wounded in the leg.

Arrests in France and Germany

In the Paris suburb of Argenteuil a French national in the “advanced stages” of planning an attack in France was arrested in a raid that took place at 5.30pm on Thursday evening. A police source said investigators found acetone peroxide explosives in the apartment.

Two arrests made by German police near Frankfurt are also believed to be linked to the Brussels attacks.

In other developments, Belgian authorities have also announced that some staff at nuclear facilities in the country have had their security pass withdrawn. The threat of a terrorist groups obtaining a radioactive “dirty bomb” has long concerned counter-terrorism experts.

And Belgian investigators said DNA tests showed that Naijm Laachraoui was one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up in the Brussels airport on Tuesday,
killing at least 10 people.

David Dixon

British victim confirmed

Meanwhile, names of the victims of the attacks in Brussels continue to be announced.

A Briton, David Dixon, 53, was confirmed as among the dead from the attack that left at least 31 people dead.

The freelance computer programmer is believed to have been on the Brussels metro train that exploded as it left Maelbeek station. The Prime minister expressed his “deep sadness” at the announcement.