Police Shoot Suspected Gunman Accused Of Killing Two Swedes In Brussels After Manhunt

Belgium police have shot the suspected gunman suspected of killing two Swedish nationals in Brussels before the football match between both countries. 

The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office confirmed Tuesday that the suspect, whose identity is yet to be confirmed, had been killed after an overnight manhunt. 

He was seen by a witness in a cafe in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday, and then shot during an “intervention” by the police, Belgium’s National Crisis Center (NCCN) said.

The authorities have suggested that the terrorist attack may be linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. 

Belgium hosted Sweden in a Euro 2024 qualifier soccer game at the King Baudouin Stadium 3 miles (5 kilometers) from downtown Brussels and that was when the attack happened, forcing the match to be abandoned midway. 

In a video posted on social media, a man identifying himself as the gunman claimed “to be inspired by the Islamic State,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said, adding “the Swedish nationality of the victims was mentioned as a probable motivation for the act.”

The authorities added that “a more in-depth investigation will have to reveal the exact motivations of the perpetrator.”

A witness who saw the attack told Reuters that he saw people run away when he heard the first gunshot. 

“That’s when I saw the assailant enter the building, who shot twice towards the man,” he said. “The man fell to the ground. I saw him fall because I was just nearby, I could see everything that was happening inside. 

“I stayed there. I was frozen, I couldn’t move. I’m still shivering because of what happened. And then the man came back and shot another bullet, and he came out.”

Belgian authorities condemned the attack.

“Horrified by the terrorist attack that claimed two victims in the heart of Brussels,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. 

“All necessary means must be mobilized to combat radicalism. Our thoughts go out to the victims, their families, and our police forces.”

UAEFA said a moment of silence would be held at all Euro 2024 qualifying matches on Tuesday, in memory of the two victims of the attack.