Belgian officials raise terror alert level after 2 Swedes fatally shot in Brussels

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Two Swedes were killed in a shooting late Monday in central Brussels, police said, and Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo suggested the attack was linked to terrorism and convened an emergency meeting of top Cabinet ministers.

Belgian authorities raised the terror alert to its highest level in the capital, and the OCAD anti-terror center said that the terror alert for the rest of the country was raised to its second-highest level.

Laura Demullier of the OCAD center said in an interview that the highest priority for authorities now was to get thousands of football fans attending the Belgium-Sweden soccer match safely out of the stadium where the match had been abandoned halfway through.

“I have just offered my sincere condolences to @SwedishPM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels,” De Croo said. He added on X, formerly known as Twitter, “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”

It was not immediately clear if the shooting was linked to the international uproar over the Israel-Hamas war.

“A horrible shooting in Brussels, and the perpetrator is actively being tracked down,” said Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, adding that she was joining government talks at the National Crisis Center.

Belgian police officers from the forensic service search for evidence in a street after two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on October 16, 2023.
Belgian police officers from the forensic service search for evidence in a street after two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on October 16, 2023.

KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images


Media reports aired amateur videos showing a man shooting several times near a station using a large weapon.

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters, said the two victims were Swedes.

The Swedish national soccer team was scheduled to play Belgium at Heysel Stadium later in the evening, some 3 miles away.

Police spokeswoman Ilse Vande Keere said officers arrived soon at the scene, and sealed off the immediate neighborhood. She declined to elaborate on circumstances of the shooting.

The shooting came at a time of increased vigilance linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that has heightened tension in several European nations. At the same time, the Belgian capital has been the scene of increased violence linked to increasing international drug trafficking.



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