OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
4:50 PM – Monday, October 16, 2023
Two Swedish nationals were fatally shot and another person sustained injuries from an attack in central Brussels, prompting Belgium’s prime minister to convene an emergency meeting at a crisis center.
The shooting happened late on Monday, leading Belgian authorities to escalate the terrorism threat in Brussels to level 4. The rest of the country is now at level 3.
Belgian authorities are uncertain whether the shooting has any connection to the ongoing international tension surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
However, reports say that the shooter declared on social media that he was “inspired” by the Islamic State terrorist organization and that he was “motivated” to attack Swedish people.
The alleged assailant, Abdesalem Al Guilani, who referred to himself as “a fighter for Allah,” maintained that he had killed three people, rather than two.
It is unclear whether the suspected assailant has been taken into police custody yet. However, the Brussels prosecutor’s office confirmed the beginning of an official investigation.
The office has not provided any specific information, such as details regarding the victims, potential suspects, or confirmed an underlying motive.
At the time of the shooting, a soccer game between Belgium and Sweden was underway at Stade Roi Baudouin, a stadium that holds more than 35,000 fans.
With the shooter at large, the match abruptly stopped halfway through and the stadium was evacuated.
Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office, reported that the third injured victim has sustained severe injuries but is now in stable condition. He also emphasized that there is “no evidence” to suggest any connection between the attack and the Middle East conflict.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo shared his condolences with his Swedish counterparts on X, formerly known as Twitter, and expressed his thoughts for the families and friends of the victims.
De Croo’s opinion also differed from Van Der Sypt, suggesting that the attack could be linked to terrorism.
“As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one,” De Croo wrote.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close wrote on X that police were “mobilizing to ensure security in and around our capital.”
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on social media, “Tonight, my thoughts are with the families of the two victims of the despicable attack in Brussels. I extend my heartfelt support to the Belgian police, so they swiftly apprehend the suspect. Together, we stand united against terror.”
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts