The Central Station in Brussels, Belgium was evacuated after a small explosion shook the station. Police officers and military personnel reported to the scene, opening fire an individual wearing a belt of explosives and shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The one suspect has been “neutralized” by authorities, and it is currently unclear whether he survived the shooting.
As reported by CNN, Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels Prosecutor’s Office confirmed: “soldiers intervened by opening fire after the explosion.” She also stated that no civilians were injured during the attack, and declined to reveal whether the suspect was killed by authorities. The incident is being treated as a terror attack.
Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a Brussels Central Station employee, spoke with reporters and said the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” and then denotated something sitting on a luggage cart according to Sky News. Herrewegen described the suspect as being a male in his 30s wearing black pants, a white shirt, and “visible wires around his waist.”
The train station involved has been evacuated, and two other stations in the Belgian capital city have also been closed in response to the attack. Additionally, Grand Place, a popular tourist destination near the station has also been evacuated.
Remy Bonnaffe, a person who said they were inside the train station at the time of the explosion, said, “The bang was very loud; it was like a very big firework that just went up in front of my nose.” He went on to say, “The fire was very small. It was a very small explosion but a very loud bang.”
Arash Aazami, another witness to the events, said he saw people running out of the station and that a nearby restaurant allowed them to take cover as the area was secured by police. He stated, “There’s a lot of military here, but the situation seems to be contained,” continuing, “There’s no sign of panic.”
The quick response to the incident can be credited to an increased military presence in the nation since the suicide bombing in March 2016 that resulted in the deaths of 32 individuals. Since that date, soldiers have been assigned to protect locations including train stations, EU institutions, and government buildings.