Man shot dead by police in hunt for gunman who killed two Swedish football fans

A man has been killed by police after allegedly shooting two football fans in Brussels, Sangita Lal reports

A man suspected of opening fire and killing two Swedish nationals in Brussels overnight has been shot dead by police, Belgian officials have confirmed.

Authorities had been searching for a 45-year-old suspected Tunisian extremist who was known to police and was living in Belgium illegally.

Thousands of football fans were held in a stadium in Brussels, with the Belgium-Sweden Euro 2024 qualifier match abandoned at half-time, following the rampage that has been described as a terror attack.

Following an overnight manhunt, Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden confirmed to VRT radio on Tuesday: “We have the good news that we found the individual.”

The weapon believed to have been used by the suspect has been recovered, she added.

Amateur videos posted on social media of Monday’s attack showed a man wearing an orange fluorescent vest pull up on a scooter, take out a large weapon and open fire on passersby before chasing them into a building to gun them down.

Belgium has raised its terror alert to the highest level in the capital city and to its second-highest level for the country following the attack earlier this evening, the OCAD anti-terror centre has said.

Fans leaving the football stadium. Credit: AP

Eric Van Duyse, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, told reporters the investigation was centering on “a possible terrorist motivation for the shooting.”

“During the evening, a claim of responsibility was posted on social media, having been recorded by a person claiming to be the assailant," Van Duyse said.

He added: "This person claims to be inspired by Islamic State,”

“The Swedish nationality of the victims was put forward as the probable motive for the act. At this time, no element indicates a possible link with the Israeli-Palestinian situation.”

Authorities said the priority was to get football fans attending the Belgium-Sweden game safely out of the stadium.

“Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned,” UEFA said.

Forensics are at the scene following the shooting of two people, believed to be Swedish nationals. Credit: AP

The killings happened three miles from King Baudouin Stadium, where over 35,000 fans were watching the game - but it has not been confirmed if the victims were in the city for the match.

Videos showing a man shooting several times near a station using a large weapon were aired on local media.

Belgium's Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, said on X, said he had offered his "sincere condolences" to his Swedish counterpart.

On the platform formerly known as Twitter, he added: "As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one."

Mr De Cross convened an emergency meeting of top Cabinet ministers.

In an earlier post, Mr De Croo called on people to be "vigilant" following the "cowardly" attack.

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