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Driver Arrested in Belgium Trying to Speed Into Crowd

Image: Driver Arrested in Belgium Trying to Speed Into Crowd

Police officer stands at a cordon during investigation of car. (Associated Press)

Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 12:54 PM

Belgian security forces arrested a French national Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd of shoppers at high speed in the port city of Antwerp, Agence France-Presse reported.

Authorities found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car after the 39-year-old man tried to flee and was detained in the northern city, prosecutors said.

The incident was the third in a week in the European Union after attacks at Orly airport in Paris and London, and came a day after the first anniversary of the Brussels suicide bombings that killed 32 people.

"A vehicle with French plates has tried to drive at high speed into the Meir (shopping street) so that pedestrians had to jump aside," Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters told a news conference.

"Our army colleagues forced the driver to stop but he pulled away and ran a red traffic light. We sent a special forces team and the car and the driver were stopped," he added.

"A man in camouflage was taken away."

Images on social media showed investigators searching a burgundy-coloured vehicle near the bank of the Scheldt river.

Belgium's federal prosecutor later said the man was a French national living in France identified only as Mohamed R, who was born in May 1977.

The prosecutor's office said he was driving at "very high speed" and that "at different times pedestrians were placed in danger."

"Different arms were found in the boot, bladed weapons, a pump-action rifle and a container of as yet unidentified liquid," the prosecutor said in a statement.

Bomb disposal experts are still at the scene.

"In light of what has initially been gathered, and taking into account what happened in London yesterday, it has been decided to send this case to the federal prosecutor," the statement added.

© AFP 2017

 
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Belgian security forces arrested a French national Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd of shoppers at high speed in the port city of Antwerp, Agence France-Presse reported.
driver, arrested, belgium
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2017-54-23
Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 12:54 PM
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