Driver who rammed terrace in Brussels arrested and Belgium lowers anti-terrorism alert

Authorities do not confirm that it is an attack

The driver who ran over a terrace in a central area of Brussels with his van on Friday, leaving six people slightly injured, and then fled, has been located and arrested in Antwerp, in the north of the country.

“Investigations led to the location of a suspect who has been arrested this afternoon by police in Antwerp. He will be questioned and we will see what measures to take,” confirmed the spokeswoman for the Brussels Prosecutor’s Office, Willemien Baert, at a press conference.

At least six people have been slightly injured after a van collided with a terrace in a central area of the capital at around 13.00. The injured people are not seriously injured and did not have to be evacuated to hospital.

As seen in footage, the people on the terrace were able to dodge the van which was speeding down a narrow street close to Brussels’ main shopping artery.

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As Baert explained, the authorities are working with all the hypotheses so he has not confirmed that the episode is an attack. “I know that the events are reminiscent of attacks in the past, but at the moment it is not yet certain that it is an attack. It is also possible that it was just an accident. We will have to wait for the continuation of the investigation to know the exact motive,” he said.

For its part, the French-speaking channel RTBF has reported that the detainee is a 28-year-old who is not known by the security forces to have extremist tendencies.

Shortly after the incident, the Office for the Coordination of Threats has raised the anti-terrorist alert in the Belgian capital, going to level 3 on a scale out of 4. A step that has been reversed in a matter of minutes after the identification of the possible perpetrator of the incident was known.

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“The driver of a van has collided with a terrace,” explained Brussels capital police spokesman Ilse van de Keere, who confirmed that the driver had fled. Police found the van that rammed the terrace a few hours after the episode in an area not far from the scene of the incident.

As explained by the mayor of Brussels Phillipe Close, the van would have turned around in the same street where it has rammed the terrace of a bar. “Fortunately people were able to avoid the van. People are in shock but none of the injured had to be evacuated,” he said in statements reported by the newspaper ‘Le Soir’.

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