Two people have been shot dead and others injured in central Brussels on Monday evening and the perpetrator remains at large, Belgian police announced.
Authorities have confirmed a shooting took place in Ieperlaan at around 7:15 p.m. local time, and two people of Swedish nationality were killed.
The victims are understood to have been supporters of the Swedish national football team and were visiting the Belgian capital to attend the European Championship qualifying fixture between the two nations at the Heysel Stadium on Monday evening.
Amateur footage circulating online showed the perpetrator, dressed in a fluorescent orange jacket and wearing a white helmet, equipped with an assault rifle rampaging through the city. The suspect arrived at the scene on a scooter before opening fire in the street, causing pedestrians to flee into a nearby apartment building.
Ce n’est pas une blague, s’il vous plaît faites attention à vous pic.twitter.com/9tP4Us1iUG— Votre Nom Ici (@momoblf) October 16, 2023
The man followed those fleeing the scene into the lobby of the residential building before firing several more shots, before returning to his scooter and taking off at speed.
Belgian media reported eyewitness testimony which stated the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire.
Additional footage circulating online purports to be a video message recorded in Arabic by the shooter, who is wearing the same identifiable clothing following the attack. According to the Sudinfo news outlet, the attacker said his motivation for the mass shooting was to avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world and boasted about killing “infidels.”
“In his very violent speech, he said he had shot two people to ‘avenge the Muslims and that we live and die for our religion,'” the news site stated.
Un tireur armé encore en liberté à Bruxelles, si vous lisez ce message et que vous êtes sur la capitale, rentrer chez vous il se dirige vers le stade Roi Baudouin #Bruxelles pic.twitter.com/Ckb9Me3Z9e— Votre Nom Ici (@momoblf) October 16, 2023
Crisis meetings have taken place between the Belgian federal police, the Brussels local police, the security services, and Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.
Authorities have not yet made an arrest and the suspect remains at large.
This is a developing story.