Brussels, June 21 (IANS) A man who is suspected to have set off a bomb at Brussels Central Station a day ago has been identified as a 36-year-old Moroccan, officials said on Wednesday.
The suspect came from Molenbeek and the suitcase he had partially detonated on Tuesday was full of nails and small gas canisters, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office was quoted as saying by Efe news.
He was shot and later died after the explosion, which is being treated as a terrorist attack. The suspect was known to police but had not been linked to terrorism, reports said.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters that a “terrorist attack had been averted” at the station.
Prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said the suspect, identified only by his initials O.Z., had approached a group of passengers beneath the main concourse and attempted to blow up his suitcase. It partially exploded and caught fire before blowing up a second time.
The man had then run towards a Station Master and then targeted a soldier, screaming “Allahu Akbar (God is great)”, before being shot. He was not wearing a suicide belt.
He later died of his injuries and his home in Molenbeek was searched by special forces in the early hours of Wednesday, BBC reported.
After convening a security cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said extra measures were being taken to secure stations, public places and major events.
Major concerts by rock group Coldplay were due to go ahead in Brussels as planned on Wednesday and Thursday.
Belgium is currently at its second highest level of security alert. The capital is also due to host a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday and Friday.
Brussels was hit by a double bombing in March 2016 in which 32 people died. The attacks on Zaventem airport and the Brussels metro were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.