Man With ‘Suicide Belt’ Made of Biscuits Triggers Brussels Alert
Police said the man claimed to have been abducted and dropped off at the City 2 complex in central Brussels.
A man with psychiatric problems who was carrying a fake suicide belt full of salt and biscuits was arrested on Tuesday after he triggered a major anti-terror operation at a Brussels shopping mall, prosecutors said.
Belgium remains in a state of high alert after the Islamic State-claimed bomb attacks in March left 32 people dead at the airport and at a metro station near European Union headquarters buildings. Prosecutors said they were still investigating whether the man – who had once claimed he had been urged to join the Islamic State group in Syria– had any genuine links to terrorism or not.
The 26-year-old man, identified only as JB, called police to say he had been abducted in a car and dropped at the City 2 mall in central Brussels with an explosives belt that was to have been detonated remotely.
After an initial inspection it was confirmed that it contained salt and biscuits. Any threat of an explosion has been initially ruled out. JB is known to the authorities for various incidents, including some linked to psychiatric problems.Rym Kechiche, Prosecutor’s spokesman
Police later located the car identified by the suspect in the Schaerbeek district of the capital and planned to question its owner. The apparent threat had triggered a massive security operation.
Only one exit remained open at the nearby Rogier metro station, where soldiers checked passengers bags and belongings. Police and soldiers sealed off the immediate area, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
(With AFP inputs)
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