Terrorism

Attack Thwarted At Belgian Army Base In Flawinne, Suspect In Custody

  • by: Maarten Schenk

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UPDATE: The attacker (aged 32, lived near Namur) was not on the radar of the security services and terrorism is not the prime lead being followed. Mental state of the suspect is being evaluated. No explosives were found in the car. The suspect did not resist arrest and was not hurt.

Live: press conference ongoing...

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BREAKING: attacker has been arrested according to journalist on the scene and later confirmed by the public prosecutor's office:

Translation: "Suspect attack #flawinne reportedly arrested by special unit of federal police. No clarity about motive."

Belgian media reported this morning a car tried to ram the gate at the Flawinne army base in Belgium. According to first reports shots were fired at the car by troops guarding the entrance, but the masked attacker got away. From first reports it appears nobody at the base was hurt.

Later reports indicated the car was found empty in the nearby town of Belgrade. Initially there was talk of explosives found in the car which has been towed away by the explosives disposal unit of the army by now so either the initial reports weren't true or the bomb has been neutralized.

The police special intervention group is on the scene. Typically this group gets deployed only for very serious incidents involving terrorism or heavily armed criminals. A police cordon has been set up around the location of the attack and a police helicopter is hovering over the area.

Police are currently organising a manhunt to search for the suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous. For safety reasons the local school is on lockdown.

The attack was confirmed by the Twitter account of the Belgian defense department:

A spokesperson for the minister of defense confirmed there had been an 'incident' at the base but wasn't able to provide more details yet.

According to Belgian journalist Gregory Willocq the owner of the car (a Ford Escort) has been identified. It is unclear yet if this person is the perpetrator of the attack.

The base at Flawinne near Namur is the home of the 2nd Batallion (Para-)Commando, a light-infantry unit of about 650 soldiers tasked among other things with combatting terrorism and serving as part of quick-reaction forces.

Developing...

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