The Belgian government has labeled the fatal shooting of two Swedish citizens in Brussels on Monday as an act of terrorism. In response, additional police forces have been deployed to prevent the suspect from crossing the border. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed his condolences to his Swedish counterpart and described the attack as “harrowing.” He emphasized that Belgium and Sweden are united in the fight against terrorism.
Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib also extended her condolences to Stockholm and condemned the terrorist attack, stating that “all necessary means must be mobilized to combat radicalism.” The Belgian government is committed to working closely with Sweden to address the threat of terrorism.
The shooting occurred in the center of Brussels at approximately 7:15 local time. The victims are believed to have been Swedish national team fans who were visiting the Belgian capital. As a precautionary measure, the Sweden-Belgium qualifier for Euro 2024, taking place at the Heysel Stadium, was halted at halftime, and fans were kept inside the venue for their safety.
Video footage circulating on social media, although unverified, shows a suspect wearing an orange high-visibility jacket and a white helmet, dismounting a scooter before opening fire on the street. The individual then pursued the fleeing civilians into a nearby residential building, firing multiple shots from their rifle before fleeing the scene on the scooter.
Eyewitnesses reported that the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire. Additionally, another video surfaced online featuring a bearded man wearing similar attire, speaking Arabic, and expressing his desire to “avenge Muslims” by killing “infidels.” Local news outlets suspect that the shooter may have been acting on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, although official confirmation from the police is pending.
The Belgian government is fully committed to investigating the incident and bringing the perpetrator to justice. The authorities are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of both Belgian and Swedish citizens. In response to the threat posed by this act of terrorism, Belgium has increased its police presence, particularly at the border, to prevent the suspect from fleeing the country.
This tragic event serves as a reminder of the ongoing global fight against terrorism. Belgium and Sweden, like many other nations, are resolute in their determination to combat radicalism and protect the values of democracy and freedom. International cooperation is crucial in addressing the root causes of terrorism and implementing effective counterterrorism measures.
The Belgian government urges its citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the authorities. By working together, Belgium, Sweden, and the international community can stand united against the threat of terrorism and ensure the safety and security of all citizens.