VIDEO: Tunisian gunman suspected of killing two Swedish football fans in Brussels with automatic rifle in Islamist 'terrorist attack' 

Tuesday 17 October 2023

The gunman who killed two Swedish citizens in Brussels on Monday may have been arrested, the Belgian capital's mayor Philippe Close told BFM TV.

"It seems indeed the suspect has been neutralised," Close said after reports of an arrest in a cafe in the Schaerbeek borough of Brussels.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told VRT broadcaster that automatic weapon found on the "neutralised person" was the same as the same as the one used during the attack.

The 45-year-old Tunisian gunman also wounded a third Swedish citizen in what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called a brutal terrorist attack.

Prosecutors had said earlier that they were awaiting confirmation that it was the suspect.

The country has raised the security alert status of its capital city to the highest level, with increased police presence, particularly for Swedish people and institutions, and warned the public to be extra vigilant and avoid unnecessary travel.

A man, who identified himself as a member of the Islamic State, claimed responsibility in a video posted online.

Police cordon off the area and take security measures around the King Baudouin Stadium

The attacker, who unsuccessfully sought asylum in Belgium in November 2019, was known to police over people smuggling and illegal residence in the country, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told a news conference earlier on Tuesday.

Sweden raised its terror alert to the second-highest level in August after Koran burnings and other acts in Sweden against Islam's holiest text outraged Muslims and triggered threats from jihadists.

The suspected assailant, calling himself Abdesalem Al Guilani, claimed in a video on social media that he was a fighter for Allah.

Abdesalem Al Guilani claimed in a video on social media that he was a fighter for Allah

The shooting comes at a time of heightened security concerns in some European countries linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict, though a Belgian federal prosecutor said there was no evidence that the attacker had any link to the recent renewed conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Video footage of the Brussels attack posted on the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper website showed a man in an orange jacket on a scooter at a street intersection with a rifle first firing five shots, then following people fleeing into a building before firing again.

According to a media transcript of the video message recorded by the self-declared perpetrator, he said he had killed Swedes to take revenge in the name of Muslims.