The centre of Brussels was evacuated tonight after a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up in the Belgium capital’s Central Station. Shots rang out soon after 9pm as police and soldiers moved in ‘to neutralise a suspect who was threatening civilians,’ said an investigating source.
The suspect was said to be wearing a rucksack packed with explosives around Belgium’s busiest railway station. Tourists were among those who fled in panic, and within a few minutes nearby shops and restaurants were shutting down.
The Grand Place, the city’s most popular tourist spot, was completely evacuated because of fears that the man might not be acting alone.
‘The attacker was shot several times, and it appears that he triggered a device,’ said the source. There are no other casualties.
Images shot at the scene showed an explosion, and what looked like an individual on fire.
Belgian Rail says traffic has been halted at the station with local media reporting that there was a small blast there. Belgian Police have said an incident with a person in Brussels central station is under control.
Soldiers, firefighters, armoured trucks and police were pictured outside the station after it was evacuated. Federal police have confirmed the blasts and say soldiers opened fire on man. One witness said he was ‘lucky to be alive’ after something that sounded like a ‘bomb’ allegedly went off just 30 metres away from him.
Ludoivic Hampton wrote: ‘When you’re walking through central station and something that looked and sounded like a bomb goes off 30 metres away from you. I’m lucky to be alive.’
Broadcaster RTL quoted Fires Services spokesman Pierre Meys confirming that some kind of an explosion had happened in the city’s Central station on Tuesday. Meys could not say what had caused the blast. He could only confirm that firefighters were at the scene.
A police spokesman said: ‘There was an accident at Central Station. There was an explosion around a person. That person was neutralised by the soldiers that were on the scene.
‘At the moment, the police are in numbers at the station and everything is under control.’
Brussels has been on the highest state of alert for more than a year after a series of devastating attacks on its transport system in March 2016. Three coordinated suicide bombings took place at the city’s airport and at the Maalbeek Metro station, with a total of 32 people killed, and 300 people being injured.
Three terrorists linked to Islamic State died in the bloodbath, and all were linked to those who carried out another devastating attack on Paris in November 2015.
VIA Daily Mail