Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Brussels train station blast being treated as terror attack

A person wearing explosives in a Brussels train station has been "neutralized", local police say. Belgian soldiers have shot the suspect, who is yet to be identified, after a failed bombing inside the station.

"We consider this a terrorist attack", prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt told reporters by the nearby Grand Place.

Local media reported that a bomb squad had performed a controlled explosion of an explosive belt the suspect had at the Central Station, and was checking to see if there weremore hazards.

The suspect was said to have carried two explosive devices inside a suitcase, one of which did not properly detonate.

Belgium suffered another shock last August when a machete-wielding man shouting "Allahu akbar" attacked two policewomen in the industrial town of Charleroi, before being shot dead.

When asked if there were other suspects, Van Der Sypt said he would not comment. "He is still on the scene". The suspected perpetrator was gunned down by soldiers nearly immediately after the explosion, ANP reports.

"The terrorist's identity is known".

The spokesman declined to comment on witness reports that the man shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) before setting off the explosion.

Police quickly sealed off the scene and said around half an hour later that the situation was "under control".

Dramatic pictures emerged overnight showed a fireball engulfing the station's concourse.

Nicolas Van Herrewegen, an employee at the Brussels Central Station, told Reuters that he was heading downstairs toward the underground platforms of the compact, 1930s station, which serves long-distance and suburban lines running under the city center.

Belgian officials told ABC News that authorities are investigating whether the suspect had an explosive device or devices, potentially a suicide vest or a bag or suitcase. Grand Place, a major tourist site which lies about 200m (656ft) away, was also evacuated. The National Security Council will meet Wednesday morning to address the incident.

Back in March 2016, suicide bombers killed 32 people in the Brussels subway and at an airport, prompting authorities to be on high alert ever since.

"I would put him at about 35 years old".

Rail company spokeswoman Elisa Roux said Tuesday evening that trains were diverted from the station and buses sent out to take passengers to the area.

Social media images showed an intense yet contained ball of fire in a almost empty underground arrival hall.

Soldiers have been stationed at railway stations, government buildings and European Union institutions since.

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