Belgian police shoot at car, call in bomb squad to Brussels' Molenbeek

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 08, 2017 12:42 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian bomb squad was called in after police halted a man who claimed to have explosives in his car in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, city prosecutors and police said on Tuesday.

The suspect, who has not yet been identified, led police on a chase after speeding through a red light in a vehicle registered in Germany, a local police spokesman said.

He was detained after police fired a shot at the wheels of the car to slow him, he said.

"When the police arrested him, he claimed to have explosives so not to take any risk, the army has been called in to check," a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutors Ine van Wymersch told Reuters.

Police cordoned off the area and told residents to remain indoors while a military unit checks for explosives, she added.

Reuters witnesses on the scene heard two controlled explosions.

It was not clear if the incident was liked to a planned attack.

Molenbeek, a poor district of the capital with a large Moroccan Muslim population, gained notoriety after an Islamic State cell based there mounted suicide attacks on Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

Associates of that group attacked Brussels itself four months later, killing 32 people.

(Reporting by Hortense de Roffignac, Francois Lenoir and Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)