It could have been much worse Authorities identify Brussels train station attacker

first_img Image: Virginia Mayo By Daragh Brophy Share21 Tweet Email1 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Wednesday 21 Jun 2017, 4:40 PM 25,098 Views Short URLcenter_img A Belgian Army soldier at the station this morning. Image: Virginia Mayo Jun 21st 2017, 4:40 PM Updated 4.40pmBELGIAN SECURITY FORCES have identified a man who set off an explosion at a Brussels train station before he was shot and killed, Interior Minister Jan Jambon said this morning.“The terrorist’s identity is known. We have been able to identify him,” Jambon told RTBF television.Authorities confirmed that the 36-year-old man, identified only as O.Z. detonated a nail bomb in a suitcase while among a group of passengers in one of the busiest train stations in Brussels yesterday.The suspect, from the largely immigrant Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek which has been linked to a number of previous attacks, was not known to police for terrorism offences.Belgian soldiers shot dead the suspected bomber, who set off the small explosion at Brussels Central.It happened at around 8.30pm (7.30pm Irish time) in one of the main corridors of Brussels Gare Centrale, or Central Station.“It could have been much worse,” Belgian federal prosecutor’s spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference.It is clear that he wanted to cause more damage than he did.Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said a “terrorist attack has been prevented” in the city that hosts the EU and NATO headquarters.But he said that while security would be stepped up, the country’s terror alert level would be kept stable.“We are not allowing ourselves to be intimidated by terrorists,” he added.“Nails and gas bottles”He entered the station and twice approached a group of around 10 passengers, the second time standing in the middle of them, prosecutors said.According to a witness the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) before blowing up a wheeled suitcase. Belgian media also reported that he was wearing some kind of suicide vest, but this was later said not to be the case.Pictures on social media showed what appeared to be a small ball of flames.“He grabbed his suitcase while shouting and causing a partial explosion. Fortunately nobody was hurt,” Van Der Sypt said.“The suitcase immediately caught fire. The man then left his luggage burning and went down to the platform in pursuit of a station master. Meanwhile the bag exploded a second time more violently. This bag contained nails and gas bottles,” he added.Soldiers, who have been guarding the station following the March 2016 Brussels attacks, then shot the man, “neutralising” him, prosecutors said. He was later confirmed dead.There were no other casualties.Central Station is one of the three main stations in the Belgian capital, along with Gare du Midi and Gare du Nord.Belgium’s national crisis centre said it was keeping the country’s terror level at three out of four, adding that there was no immediate information to suggest that another attack was imminent and that it should be raised to the top level.Reporting by – © AFP 2017Read: Constable charged with having indecent images of children is dismissed from Met PoliceRead: Prime Minister demands ‘immediate answers’ as forest fires continue to rage in Portugal ‘It could have been much worse’: Authorities identify Brussels train station attacker Prime Minister Charles Michel said a “terrorist attack has been prevented”. 40 Comments A Belgian Army soldier at the station this morning. last_img read more