The Belgian police arrested a suspected gunman on Tuesday morning following an intensive manhunt for an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist who shot dead two Swedish football fans in Brussels with an automatic rifle on Monday night in a terror attack.
Armed officers found suspect Abdesalem Lassoued, 45, inside a café in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek at 8 am and “opened fire” before arresting him, the Belgian prosecutors’ office said.
An ambulance was later seen taking a wounded Lassoued to hospital, while the scooter he was said to have used to flee the terror attack was towed away.
The automatic rifle that Lassoued had used to kill the two Swedish football fans last night was also found on his person.
The Belgian government has described Monday’s fatal shooting of two Swedish citizens in Brussels as terrorism and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo sent condolences to his Swedish colleague.
“As close partners, the fight against terrorism is a joint one,” he added.
“Belgium and Sweden are united against terror,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, also sending condolences to Stockholm.
Lahbib added that she was “horrified by the terrorist attack” in the heart of Brussels and that “all necessary means must be mobilised to combat radicalism.”
The two victims were gunned down around 7:15 local time in the center of Brussels. Police presume they were fans of the Swedish national team who were visiting the Belgian capital.
The Sweden-Belgium qualifier for Euro 2024, underway at the Heysel Stadium, was stopped at half-time and the fans were locked inside the venue as a security measure.
Unverified footage making rounds on social media showed a suspect, wearing an orange high-visibility jacket and a white helmet, getting off a scooter before opening fire in the street.
The man followed the fleeing civilians into a nearby residential building, fired several more shots from his rifle, and fled on the scooter.
Eyewitnesses told Belgian media that the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.
Another video circulating online shows a bearded man wearing the same clothing, speaking Arabic and saying he wants to “avenge the Muslims” by killing “infidels,” according to the news outlet Sudinfo.
Belgian news outlets suspect the shooter of acting on behalf of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, though the police have yet to officially confirm or deny that.