Belgium hunts shooter of Swedes as Brussels put on maximum alert | Inquirer News

Belgium hunts shooter of Swedes as Brussels put on maximum alert

/ 02:31 PM October 17, 2023

Belgium hunts shooter of Swedes as Brussels put on maximum alert

People walk outside King Baudouin Stadium after the match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended following a shooting in Brussels, Belgium, October 17, 2023 REUTERS

BRUSSELS — Belgium was searching on Tuesday for a gunman who killed two Swedish citizens and wounded a third person on Monday in Brussels in what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called a brutal terrorist attack.

The country has raised the security alert status of its capital city to the highest level, with increased police presence, particularly for Swedish people and institutions, and warned the public to be extra vigilant and avoid unnecessary travel.


“Last night three people left for what was supposed to be a wonderful soccer party. Two of them lost their lives in a brutal terrorist attack,” De Croo told a news conference.


“The perpetrator targeted specifically Swedish supporters who were in Brussels to attend a Red Devils soccer match. Two Swedish compatriots passed away. A third person is recovering from severe injures,” de Croo said.

Belgium was hosting Sweden in a Euro 2024 qualifying match on Monday evening. The match was abandoned at halftime.

A man, who identified himself as a member of the Islamic State, claimed responsibility in a video posted online.

Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the news conference the suspect was a 45-year-old Tunisian man who sought asylum in Belgium in November 2019 and was known to police over people smuggling and illegal residence in Belgium.

Police are still searching for him.

Belgium has increased the presence of police in Brussels, especially around places linked to the Swedish community. Authorities say the perpetrator chose his victims because of their nationality.


A Belgian federal prosecutor said there was no evidence that the attacker had any link to the recent renewed conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Sweden in August raised its terror alert to the second-highest level, warning of an increase in threats against Swedish interests abroad, after Koran burnings and other acts in Sweden against Islam’s holiest text outraged Muslims and triggered threats from jihadists.

The suspected assailant, calling himself Abdesalem Al Guilani, claimed in a video on social media that he was a fighter for Allah.

The shooting comes at a time of heightened security concerns in some European countries linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict. France is deploying 7,000 extra troops onto its streets after a teacher was fatally stabbed on Friday in an attack President Emmanuel Macron condemned as “barbaric Islamic terrorism.”

Video footage of the Brussels attack posted on the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper website showed a man in an orange jacket on a scooter at a street intersection with a rifle first firing five shots, then following people fleeing into a building before firing again.

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According to a media transcript of the video message recorded by the self-declared perpetrator, he said he had killed Swedes to take revenge in the name of Muslims.

TAGS: Belgium, Sweden, terror attack

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