Gunman killed in Brussels after killing Swedish football fans
A gunman killed two Swedes Football fans in a terrorist attack A man was shot dead in Brussels after 12 hours on the run, the Belgian Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
He was shot in the chest during a stop and search operation in a café while authorities were searching the Belgian capital.
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said that the terrorist died on his way to the hospital in an ambulance. She said that the authorities are working to officially identify him through fingerprints.
She added that the Belgian police found the automatic rifle used in the attack on the suspect.
The identity of the man who was shot was not revealed, but local media reports indicated that he was the gunman.
The gunman is called Abdul Salam Al-Aswad
The identity of the gunman was revealed on Monday night as Abdel Salam Al Aswad, 45, from Tunisia, a rejected asylum seeker who had been living illegally in the Schaerbeek district of the Belgian capital.
He allegedly shot three peopleTwo of them were killed and the third was seriously injured, “to avenge Muslims” in an attack that the gunman said was linked to the terrorist organization ISIS.
Footage captured by local residents showed a man wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and white helmet pulling up and getting off a motorcycle and firing a rifle at a taxi.
A number of people fled to a nearby building, but the gunman followed them to the entrance and opened fire again.
The shooting came while Belgium was hosting Sweden in a European Football Championship qualifier. The match was canceled at the request of the players who heard the shooting during halftime.
The incident was declared a terrorist attack
The Belgian government declared the incident a terrorist attack shortly after, with authorities raising the threat level to the highest level.
The suspect was still on the run on Tuesday morning after police officers conducted searches in Schaerbeek.
A motorcycle believed to have been used by the terrorist to flee the scene of the attack was discovered nearby.
An unverified video clip showed a man with a description matching that of the gunman riding through the streets of Brussels on a motorcycle on Monday while carrying a rifle that appeared to be an AK-47.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a press conference early Tuesday that the suspect applied for asylum in the country in 2019, but the application was rejected a year later.
Since the alleged gunman was not living in an asylum centre, no effort was made to arrest him and deport him to his native Tunisia.
The 45-year-old will eventually be erased from the national registry in 2021.
In his native Tunisia, he was known to security services as an extremist willing to fight in a jihadist conflict zone.
Vincent Van Quickenborn, Belgium’s justice minister, said it was “part of dozens of daily reports of this kind” at the time.
Al-Aswad has also been linked to crimes related to human trafficking, illegal residence, and assaulting state security personnel.
Most recently, he threatened an asylum resident who reportedly had been convicted of terrorism in Tunisia, according to local media reports.
Belgium’s National Crisis Center said the alleged terrorist was motivated by the Swedish nationality of his victims. They were reportedly wearing Swedish football shirts.
She added: “At the present time, there is no indication that the attack is linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”