Brussels terror suspect shot dead in cafe
A gunman who killed two Swedish football fans in Brussels on Monday in an Islamist extremist attack has died after a firefight with police, officials and media have said.
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden confirmed the suspect’s death on Tuesday morning, saying he was positively identified as the perpetrator of the terrorist attack. She thanked law enforcement for their response to the crisis.
Belgian media previously reported that the man had been cornered at a cafe in the Schaerbeek commune to the northeast of the capital. He was rushed to hospital after being shot in the chest, and died shortly afterwards.
The authorities have said they are investigating whether the terrorist was part of a cell or acted alone, as was initially suspected.
The gunman opened fire on people attending a Euro 2024 qualifying match in Brussels on Monday evening, resulting in the game being called off at half-time.
After the initial shooting, the assailant injured a third person elsewhere in Brussels, according to Belgian media. Videos published online have shown a man wearing an orange jacket and riding a scooter, armed with an assault rifle.
In a video that the killer apparently recorded and posted online, he identified himself as Abdesalem Al Guilani, a supporter of the terrorist group Islamic State, (IS, formerly ISIS). He claimed that was avenging crimes against Muslims.
Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said the suspect was a 45-year-old Tunisian man who sought asylum in Belgium in November 2019. He was accused of people-smuggling and residing in the country illegally, the minister told a news conference on Monday.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has expressed his condolences to the Swedish people over the deaths of two of its nationals, and said the terrorist attack was fuelled by “blind hatred.”