Initial reports suggest that Brussels police managed to neutralize a man shouting, “Allahu Akbar” and wearing an explosive suicide belt, but not before the man detonated the device, apparently harming nobody but himself and causing a relatively small amount of property damage.
The terrifying incident took place at the main railway station in Brussels and caused law enforcement officials to swiftly evacuate the building. No civilian deaths or injuries have been reported and Belgian officials have only announced that the man was “neutralized.” Investigators are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
“We do not know if the man is still alive or that he is dead,” said federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt in the aftermath of the attack.
The explosion occurred at around 8:30 pm local time, Van der Sypt added. Authorities also evacuated La Grande Place, one of the largest tourist destinations in Brussels, because of its proximity to Brussels Central Station.
Now, investigators are reportedly seeking to determine whether the culprit only had an explosive device on his person or whether he was also carrying explosives in bags and or suitcases. No other suspects have been announced in the investigation.
Eyewitnesses heard two loud detonations followed by gunfire, with military, medical, and police officials rapidly rushing to the scene in the aftermath of the chaos. Service was stopped at all three of Brussels’ main train stations, but officials were able to get the situation under control and resume normal operations within hours.
According to the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country’s Threat Assessment Coordination Body had placed the terrorism threat level at 3 and has not found any indications of potential follow-up or joint attacks anywhere in the country.