The police have put an end to the overnight manhunt for the suspected gunman who was responsible for the terrorist attack that took the lives of two Swedish nationals in Brussels. Reports suggest that the gunman was shot by the police and later died due to the injuries sustained.
On Tuesday, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office verified that the perpetrator, who has not been identified yet, was deceased.
According to the National Crisis Center (NCCN) of Belgium, a witness at a cafe in the municipality of Schaerbeek spotted him shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday. The police then intervened and shot him.
According to the NCCN, despite the efforts of emergency services to revive the suspect, he was declared dead at a hospital later that morning. Additionally, authorities found a military weapon at the cafe.
According to reports from RTBF, Belgian officials have suggested a potential connection between the recent attack and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
On Monday night, the tragic attack by the suspected gunman took place while Belgium was hosting Sweden in a Euro 2024 qualifier soccer game at the King Baudouin Stadium, which is only 3 miles (5 kilometers) away from downtown Brussels. The devastating incident led to the match being abandoned at half-time.
As per the NCCN, the fans were instructed to leave the stadium and head back home as soon as possible. The evacuation was carried out in an orderly manner.
A man who identified himself as the gunman claimed to have been inspired by the Islamic State in a video posted on social media. The spokesperson for Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office stated that the perpetrator mentioned the nationality of the victims, who were Swedish, as a probable motivation for the attack.
According to RTBF, the federal prosecutor’s office revealed that the assailant shared several social media messages advocating for the Palestinian people, suggesting that the Middle East crisis could have had a hand in the attack.
According to the statement released by the office, it is mentioned that a thorough investigation is required to determine the exact motives of the perpetrator.
According to Eric van Duyse, the spokesperson for the federal public prosecutor, there was no initial indication of a potential connection to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In recent times, a series of Quran-burning protests in Sweden and Denmark have led to a surge in angry demonstrations in Muslim-majority countries. This has also caused heightened security fears and led to questions about whether the liberal laws on freedom of speech in both Scandinavian nations need to be reviewed. The deadly shooting that occurred recently seems to be a part of this pattern.
According to a Reuters witness, the attack began with a single gunshot, followed by a couple fleeing the scene. As the couple ran away, a white car was seen accelerating past them.
According to the witness, he saw the attacker enter the building and fire two shots at the victim, causing him to fall to the ground. The witness was in close proximity and had a clear view of the incident. Despite being frozen with fear, he stayed put and watched as the attacker fired another shot before leaving the building. The witness was left shaken and still shivering from the traumatic experience.
The attack was strongly condemned by Belgian authorities.
Belgian Foreign Minister, Hadja Lahbib, expressed her horror over the terrorist attack that occurred in the center of Brussels. In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), she stated that radicalism must be combated with all necessary means. Lahbib also conveyed her condolences to the victims and their families, as well as expressed her support for the police forces.
In the aftermath of the attack, Brussels saw its terror threat level elevated to 4, the highest level. Additionally, the French Interior Ministry confirmed that they have increased security checks at the Franco-Belgian border.
According to X, the mayor of Brussels, police were present on the city’s streets to maintain safety.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed his condolences to the families affected by the recent cowardly attack in a post released on X’s platform on Tuesday.
According to him, their top priority is to ensure the safety of Swedish soccer fans during their travel back home.
The UAEFA has announced that a moment of silence will be observed at all Euro 2024 qualifying matches on Tuesday to honor the two individuals who lost their lives in the recent attack.
Earlier today, the European Parliament paid tribute to the victims of a tragic incident by holding a moment of silence.
During her speech in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, announced that the alert level for European Parliament buildings in Brussels had been elevated to orange.
Following the terrorist attack, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has urged the European Union to strengthen its border controls and internal security. He emphasized that the region cannot afford to be “naive” in the face of such threats.
During a press conference, Kristersson stated that the recent attack was likely a terrorist act, specifically targeting Swedish citizens. He emphasized that the intention behind the attack was to instill fear and silence the people, but affirmed that they will not succumb to such tactics.
According to X, Kristersson has announced that he will be heading to Brussels on Wednesday to pay tribute to and grieve for the victims of the attack.