A major police presence has been felt in central Brussels this afternoon as despite the extremely high temperatures a suspicious male wearing a heavy overcoat reported as having “wires” or “cables trailing from the bottom was spotted in the city.
Dozens of police cars and support units turned out as a picture posted to twitter appeared to show the suspect on his knees, while two armed officers took cover behind a bollard with weapons trained on him. It was reported that the man had been detained by Brussels Police but hours after the incident the force said the standoff was still ongoing.
Yet late on Wednesday afternoon the police operation was abruptly terminated when police discovered the suspicious male was actually a university student studying radiation in Brussels.
Britain’s BBC reported the comments of a police spokesman who said: “We got a call about someone acting suspiciously. Someone with a heavy winter coat – in these temperatures it’s very suspicious.
“And there were wires coming out of the coat too… We didn’t take any risks. The person was stopped and kept at a distance. We are now waiting for more information from the bomb disposal unit which is at the scene now and then we’ll know more”.
— Roeland Roovers (@r0eland) July 20, 2016
Flanders News reports the Muntplein and surrounding streets, an area just moments walk from the notorious Islamist Molenbeek district, were closed down by police and evacuated. The bomb squad was also in attendance.
The alert has come just hours before Brussels is due to celebrate the national day of Belgium bank holiday, with parades and events over the capital. The capital was already on high alert for the holiday, but this has been elevated further by the slaying of revelers in an Islamist attack during the celebrations of France’s national day in Nice last week.
Speaking of the preparations made for tomorrow in light of police officers being shot at by Black Lives Matters extremists in the United States and the terror killings in France, Brussel’s chief of police said: “in addition to increasing police numbers, we’re placing concrete blocks and physical obstacles to ensure lorries don’t end up where they shouldn’t”.
— Jean-Baptiste (@Jean__Baptiste) July 20, 2016
32 victims were killed in Islamist terror bombings in Brussels in March this year, after killers targeted the city airport and a metro station.