- Title: Suspect "screamed Allahu Akbar" - eyewitness recounts Brussels blast
- Date: 21st June 2017
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JUNE 20, 2017) (REUTERS) BELGIAN MILITARY AND POLICE VEHICLES NEAR BRUSSELS CENTRAL STATION FIRE TRUCK NEAR STATION SOLDIER PATROLLING BELGIAN RAILWAYS WORKER AND WITNESS, NICOLAS VAN HERREWEGEN, SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN RAILWAYS WORKER AND WITNESS, NICOLAS VAN HERREWEGEN, SAYING: "When I walked down to the platform there was a man screaming, screaming and screaming. He was talking about jihadis and things like that. At some point, he screamed "Allahu Akbar" and detonated the small suitcase he was holding next to him. Then people started to escape. They left and so on. At this point I walked back down to the platform to alert my colleagues so they could evacuate the station." HERREWEGEN WITH JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN RAILWAYS WORKER AND WITNESS, NICOLAS VAN HERREWEGEN, SAYING: "He had a dark complexion, his face was quite round-shaped, short hair, he wore a white jacket and black jeans." HERREWEGEN SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN RAILWAYS WORKER AND WITNESS, NICOLAS VAN HERREWEGEN, SAYING: "The last things (I saw) when we were evacuated was a lot of smoke in the station. We walked past the spot where debris caused by the bomb explosion lay. Then we came out." FIREMEN ACCOMPANYING WOMAN OUTSIDE POLICE CORDON ARMED POLICEMAN SPEAKING TO DRIVER OF VEHICLE POLICE AND FIREMEN NEAR STATION
- Embargoed: 5th July 2017 00:00
- Keywords: Belgium attack blast suspect shot eyewitness central station Brussels
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA0016M34J0N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The suspected "terrorist" bomber in Brussels Central Station on Tuesday (June 20) screamed "Allahu Akbar" before detonating a suitcase, an eyewitness said.
Nicolas Van Herrewegen, a station employee, told Reuters that he saw a man shouting in a lower level of the 1930s station, which serves lines running under the city centre. He then appeared to yell "Allahu Akbar" in Arabic and to detonate a small suitcase he was holding.
Belgian troops shot the suspect, but there were no other casualties and the situation was brought under control after people were evacuated, officials said.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt told reporters some three hours after the incident that a small blast was being treated as a "terrorist attack". He said it was still unclear if the man was dead and his identity was still unknown. The suspect was still inside the station, he added.
He declined to comment on witness accounts that he had shouted Islamist slogans, including "Allahu Akbar" - God is greater, in Arabic - before detonating a device on a luggage trolley in an underground concourse of the rail station.
Police had quickly evacuated the station and surrounding areas of historic downtown Brussels after the incident around 8:30 p.m. (1830 GMT). The streets had been busy with tourists and locals enjoying a hot evening but were soon largely deserted and calm. Rail traffic was largely suspended.
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