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Brussels Cops Arrest Man With ‘Suicide Vest’ During Mall Terror Alert

BRUSSELS — Belgian authorities took a man into custody following a pre-dawn security alert at a major shopping center in downtown Brussels early Tuesday.

The security operation followed an alert about a suspicious package.

A suspect held in the operation in Brussels was wearing a fake suicide vest, prosecutors said Tuesday.

“No bomb has so far been found. The suicide vest found on a suspect was fake,” the Brussels prosecutor’s office said.

Brussels prosecutors confirmed that a man had been taken into custody, but that no explosives were found at the City 2 shopping center.

“He is being questioned at the moment,” said Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutors’ office. “There were no explosives.”

Amid the alert, Prime Minister Charles Michel changed his morning program and a meeting of the Belgian crisis center was called.

Police in hoods and military wearing helmets were seen patrolling around at least one major entry to the City 2 shopping center. Police cars were on the scene and the demining squad was also called in. Some entries to the subway station were also blocked.

City 2 spokeswoman Veronique Pirson said police said “a package had been found right next to City 2.”

Belgium has been living under a threat level which says an attack is possible and likely since the November attacks in Paris, some of whose perpetrators were either Belgian nationals or had lived in Brussels. On March 22, attacks on the Brussels subway and airport killed 32.

AP and AFP contributed to this report

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