Gunman Suspected Of Killing Two Swedish Nationals In Brussels Terrorist Attack Dies
In a harrowing turn of events, the gunman suspected of killing two Swedish nationals in Brussels terrorist attack dies, bringing an end to an overnight manhunt.
The Belgian federal prosecutor's office confirmed the suspect's death on Tuesday, although the identity of the assailant has yet to be officially confirmed.
The suspect was located by a witness in a cafe in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday and subsequently shot during an "intervention" by the police, as reported by Belgium's National Crisis Center (NCCN).
Despite efforts by emergency services to resuscitate the suspect, he was declared dead at a hospital later that morning, and a military weapon was found at the scene.
Belgian officials are investigating a potential connection between the attack and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as reported by Belgium public broadcaster RTBF.
The assailant, in a video posted on social media, claimed to be "inspired by the Islamic State." The federal prosecutor's office spokesperson stated that "the Swedish nationality of the victims was mentioned as a probable motivation for the act."
Furthermore, the attacker had shared messages in support of the Palestinian people on social media, suggesting a possible role of the Middle East situation in the motivation behind the attack.
While initial indications point towards potential motivations, the federal prosecutor's office emphasized the necessity of a more in-depth investigation to uncover the exact reasons behind the attacker's actions.
Initially, there was no indication of a link with the Israel-Hamas war, as stated by the federal public prosecutor's spokesman, Eric van Duyse.
The deadly shooting in Brussels follows a series of Quran-burning protests in Sweden and Denmark, which have ignited demonstrations in Muslim-majority countries and raised concerns about freedom of speech laws in both Scandinavian nations.
This incident has left many questioning whether there is a need to review their liberal laws on freedom of speech in light of these events.
Belgian authorities have strongly condemned the attack, with Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib calling for all necessary means to be mobilized to combat radicalism.
The terror threat level in Brussels has been raised to its highest level, level 4. The French Interior Ministry also revealed that checks at the Franco-Belgian border had been "strengthened."
Police presence in Brussels has been enhanced to ensure the safety of the city's residents, as confirmed by Mayor Philippe Close. The UEFA announced a moment of silence at all Euro 2024 qualifying matches to honor the victims of the attack.
The European Parliament held a minute of silence for the victims, and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola disclosed that the alert level for European Parliament buildings in Brussels had been raised to orange.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called for the European Union to bolster border controls and internal security in the wake of the terrorist attack. He emphasized that the region could not afford to be "naive" in the face of such threats.
Kristersson expressed that this was a terror attack targeting Sweden and its citizens due to their nationality, and he called for resilience and unity in the face of such violence.
Kristersson announced his plans to travel to Brussels on Wednesday to commemorate and mourn the victims of the attack, reiterating his commitment to standing strong against terrorism.
The tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, resulting in the death of two Swedish nationals and the assailant, has raised concerns about potential links to the Israel-Hamas conflict and the impact of freedom of speech laws.
The international community has expressed its condolences and heightened security measures in response to the incident. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called for strengthened security and unity against terrorism.
As investigations continue, this devastating event serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges posed by terrorism and the need for vigilance in ensuring the safety of citizens and visitors alike.