A “French-Tunisian” man has been arrested in the Belgian city of Antwerp after trying to drive his car into a crowd on a busy shopping street on Thursday morning, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the vehicle’s way.
Police stopped the French-plated car and arrested the 39-year-old driver identified as ‘Mohamed R’ this morning, apparently preventing an intended terror attack Thursday morning. Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports “weapons” including knives and a sort of gun were found inside the red Citroen car, and that bomb disposal engineers were dispatched to the scene.
In addition to the weapons, a water bottle containing an “unknown substance” found in the car also caused concern after the arrest.
The vehicle had been identified as suspicious by security services after it ran a red light and drove at high speed through a shopping street in Antwerp. The car was subsequently intercepted at the port of Antwerp and the driver arrested.
The mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever called a press conference Thursday afternoon, calling the event a “possible attack”.
— Photographer Thomas (@Photo_Thomas_H) March 23, 2017
Authorities have raised security in the area following the incident, with the Belgian Prime Minister saying: we remain vigilant. Our security services have done excellent work.
The suspected attack comes less than 24 hours after three were killed and approximately 40 were injured in a similar car-knife attack by a known Islamist in London, United Kingdom. Belgian capital Brussels was attacked by Islamist killers on March 22nd 2016, just over one year ago, in a terror strike that killed 35.