Two dead in gun violence in Brussels: Man claiming to be an ISIS member avenges the stabbing murder of a 6-year-old American-Palestinian boy, opens fire on a group wearing Swedish football shirts ahead of Euro 2024 qualifying – and goes then on the run
- Two people were shot dead in the center of Brussels this evening, the police reported
Two Swedish football fans were shot dead in central Brussels by a gunman claiming to be a member of ISIS.
Amateur videos were broadcast in the media showing a man shooting several times with a large weapon near a station.
The Swedish national football team was scheduled to play Belgium five kilometers away at the Heysel Stadium later in the evening.
This is reported by the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws The gunman used an automatic rifle and fled on his scooter.
He allegedly said he was taking revenge for the stabbing of a six-year-old American-Palestinian boy.
Police spokeswoman Ilse Vande Keere said officers quickly arrived on the scene in Brussels and closed off the immediate area
The shooting comes at a time of heightened vigilance over the war between Israel and Hamas, which has increased tension in several European countries.
Police at the scene of a shooting incident in Ieperlaan – Ieperlaan in Brussels
The gunman was riding a moped and heard by witnesses shouting ‘Allahu Akabar’ – Arabic for God is the Greatest.
An investigating source said: ‘He also shouted about carrying out a revenge attack. He shot at several people and hit some of them. This had all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.”
According to the source, a video is also circulating on social media in which the attacker explains that he must “get revenge” by killing three people from Sweden.
“Two Swedish football fans were killed in a taxi after being attacked by the man, who then fled on his moped,” the source said.
The suspect, wearing a crash helmet and fluorescent jacket, brandished a “Kalashnikov-style” weapon and also shot at a man in the lobby of a nearby building.
Emergency services arrived in large numbers within minutes, but no suspect was arrested.
Police spokeswoman Ilse Vande Keere said that officers quickly arrived on the scene and closed off the immediate area.
She would not comment on the circumstances of the shooting.
There has also been controversy in Sweden over Charlie Hebdo-style cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Police have cordoned off an area in the center of Brussels where a shooting took place
This photo shows the police perimeter at the scene of a shooting incident in Ieperlaan – Ieperlaan
The Belgian police are at the scene of a shooting incident
A spokesperson for the Brussels police said: ‘We are talking about two deaths, and they are probably Swedish people.’
Belgium has suffered a series of terrorist attacks in recent years, all linked to Islamic groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Eight men have just been tried for their connections to the 2016 suicide bombings that killed 32 people and injured hundreds at Brussels airport and a metro station.
In September, a court in Brussels sentenced eight men to life in prison for the jihadist bombings in Brussels.
French national Salah Abdeslam and Belgian-Moroccan Mohamed Abrini – already sentenced to life in prison by France for the November 2015 Paris massacre – were the most prominent of the six suspects found guilty of murder in July.
Abrini, who was one of the targeted bombers but decided at the last minute not to blow himself up, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The court ruled not to give Abdeslam an additional term after he was sentenced to twenty years in Belgium in 2018 for a gun battle.
The attacks – near the headquarters of both NATO and the EU – were part of a wave of attacks claimed by Islamic State in Europe.