UPDATE - Gunman kills 2 Swedish nationals in Brussels
Investigation underway, no suspect arrested so far, says police spokeswoman
By Ahmet Gencturk and Faruk Zorlu
ATHENS/ANKARA (AA) – A gunman killed at least two Swedish nationals in the Belgian capital Brussels, local media reported late Monday.
The shooting took place around 7.15 p.m. local time (1715GMT) near Place Sainctelette, said public broadcaster VRT.
Speaking to the broadcaster, Belgian police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere said no suspect had been arrested so far but an investigation was ongoing.
VRT also showed amateur footage of a man in a fluorescent orange jacket and a white helmet dismounting from a motor scooter and firing several shots with an automatic weapon.
Some people can be seen fleeing into a building, and the gunman is then seen following them and opening fire in the lobby.
Later, VRT said the victims were in Brussels to watch a match between the national football teams of Belgium and Sweden as part of the EURO 2024 Qualifiers.
King Baudouin Stadium in the Heysel area of Brussels, where the match took place, is located around 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the site of the attack, highlighting the proximity of the incident to a major sports venue.
The European Championship qualifying match between the two nations was interrupted after half-time, while it remains unclear if there is a direct link between the match and the attack.
The terror threat level for Brussels has been moved up to level 4, the highest level, signaling that a terrorist threat is serious and imminent.
In the rest of the country, the terror level has been raised to level 3, which represents a threat that is possible and likely.
Neighboring France is also tightening controls at the border with Belgium, said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
In a related development, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on X that he is monitoring developments together with the justice and interior ministers at the country’s national crisis center.
"We are monitoring the situation and would like to ask the residents of Brussels to be vigilant," he said.
Later, he also expressed his condolences to his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson. He emphasized the joint effort in combating terrorism.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also expressed her condolences to the families of the victims, emphasizing the importance of international solidarity during such tragic events.
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