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Brussels: Police Shoot Dead Suspected Gunman Accused of Killing 2

The city of Brussels was shaken by a terrorist attack on Monday night, as a gunman targeted Swedish football fans, leaving two dead and another seriously injured. This act of violence shocked through Belgium and Sweden, raising worries about the ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe.
Brussels: Police Shoot Dead Suspected Gunman Accused of Killing 2

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The attack took place on Monday evening, not far from from the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, where Belgium was hosting Sweden in a Euro 2024 qualifier soccer game. As the match was suspended at halftime, fans were evacuated from the stadium as a precaution.

The shooter, identified as a 45-year-old Tunisian named Abdesalem, launched a brazen assault on a Brussels street.

He was armed with an automatic weapon and opened fire on people, including Swedish football fans, who were getting out of a taxi.

Videos of the attack were shared on social media, showing the gunman calmly loading his weapon and fleeing the scene on a scooter.

Abdesalem, the suspected gunman, was a Tunisian national living in Belgium illegally. His asylum application had been rejected in 2020, and he had gone off the radar of authorities.

This raises questions about how a known individual with a rejected asylum application was able to obtain a military weapon and carry out a deadly attack.

In a video posted on social media, the gunman claimed to be inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) and declared that he had killed people in the name of God.

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He referred to the Quran as a “red line” for which he was willing to sacrifice himself. This video provided insights into his motivations and beliefs.

Following the assault, an overnight manhunt was launched, and the threat level in Brussels was raised to the highest level, indicating an extremely serious threat. Belgian authorities were on high alert, and efforts to locate the perpetrator were intensified.

A witness in the Schaerbeek neighborhood spotted the suspect in a cafe and immediately informed the police. During the subsequent police intervention, shots were fired, and the suspect was shot dead.

Despite his demise, the investigation is ongoing to determine the precise motives and any potential links to terrorist networks or other individuals.

Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, expressed his deep condolences to the victims’ families and praised the international solidarity for Sweden in the attack.

He stressed that the attack was clearly aimed at Sweden and Swedish citizens because of their nationality. Kristersson called for increased border security measures in the European Union and stressed the importance of vigilance in light of the open borders within the EU.

Belgium’s Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, condemned the attack as a brutal act of terrorism. He highlighted the tragic loss of two lives and expressed the need to support the families of the victims.

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De Croo also addressed the safety of Swedish soccer fans who had traveled to Belgium for the match and underlined the need to ensure their safe return home.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, security measures were heightened in Brussels, particularly in areas associated with the Swedish community.

Additionally, the Belgian-French border saw strengthened checks to prevent any potential escape or further incidents.

The incident prompted concerns about the security of open borders in the EU, as the assailant had reportedly moved between European countries. The motivation behind the attack is a subject of investigation.

While the initial statements from Belgian prosecutors suggested no link to the Israel-Gaza conflict, subsequent information indicated that the suspect had expressed support for the Palestinian people on social media. This development raised the possibility that the conflict might have played a role in his actions.

The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are exploring all possible avenues to determine the precise motives and any connections the suspect may have had with extremist groups or individuals.

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