Belgian police respond train station after reports of explosions
BRUSSELS – An individual was “neutralized” at Brussels Central Station Tuesday night after an explosion set off panic in the busy transportation hub, Belgian authorities said.
The incident was a failed bombing attack, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN.
No civilians were injured in the incident, Brussels Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch said.
“Soldiers intervened by opening fire after the explosion,” she said, without confirming if the individual was killed.
Central Station was evacuated and closed along with two other stations in the Belgian capital. Armed patrols, including a bomb disposal unit, surrounded the station.
A witness who was inside the station during the incident said he heard two explosions and then heard someone yell “Allahu Akbar” twice followed by heavy gunfire.
Sandor Moors said he was waiting on the train platform downstairs when he heard one bang followed by another and then the cries.
“There was a security announcement to leave the station. Military came down with heavy guns looking for someone.”
After the gunfire he went upstairs looking for an escape. As he passed through what appeared to be gun smoke he said he saw a man with three bullet wounds.
“I don’t know if he survived. He looked dead,” Moors said.
Remy Bonnaffe said he was inside the station when an explosion went off, followed by a fire.
“The bang was very loud, it was like a very big firework that just went up in front of my nose,” he said. “The fire was very small. It was a very small explosion but a very loud bang.”
Arash Aazami was walking into the train station when he saw people running out of the building. A restaurant next door let him and others inside as police secured the station.
“There’s a lot of military here, but the situation seems to be contained,” Aazami said. “There’s no sign of panic.”
The incident comes more than a year after suicide bombers in Brussels detonated several explosions in the Brussels Airport and a nearby Metro station. The attack killed 31 people and wounded hundreds.