Thursday, March 23, 2017

Man held for 'driving at crowd' in Antwerp, Belgium

Man held for 'driving at crowd' in Antwerp, Belgium

  • 18 minutes ago
  • From the section Europe
Scene of arrest of suspected attempted attacker in Antwerp, on 23 March 2017Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe car was stopped down by the quayside, by the police's rapid response team
A French national of north African origin has been arrested in the north Belgian city of Antwerp on suspicion of driving at a crowd, officials say.
A car was driven "at high speed" on De Meir, Antwerp's main shopping street, before it was intercepted. There were no reports of any injuries.
Knives, a gun and some unidentifiable liquid were found in the car, prosecutors say.
Belgian PM Charles Michel praised the authorities for an "outstanding job".
The attack comes a day after a car was driven at high-speed along London's Westminster Bridge, resulting in the deaths of four people - including the driver - and injuring 40.
It was also the day Belgium marked the first anniversary of the twin bomb attacks in Brussels, that killed 32 people.

Rapid response

Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters said the car was spotted at around 11:00 local time (10:00 GMT).
"The vehicle was driving at high speed on De Meir. Our army colleagues spotted it and tried to bring the vehicle to a halt," he said.
"But the driver broke free and drove through the red light towards the port quays."
He said the police were contacted and immediately sent a rapid response team, intercepting the vehicle and driver.
"The suspect, a man of north African origin, was immediately arrested," he said.
The federal prosecutor's office, which has taken over the investigation, named the suspect as "Mohamed R", a 39-year-old French national and resident of France.
"Different arms were found in the boot - bladed weapons, a riot gun (rifle) and a container of liquid that is still unidentifiable," the prosecutor's statement also said.
The army bomb disposal unit was sent to the scene to inspect the vehicle.

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