Brussels attacker identified as 36-year-old Moroccan
Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) — The man who was shot dead at a Brussels train station Tuesday after attempting to explode a suitcase of nails and gas canisters was unknown to authorities as a terror suspect, a Belgian prosecutor said Wednesday.
The would-be attacker — identified by the initials “O.Z.” — was a 36-year-old of Moroccan origin, Brussels federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said at a news conference Wednesday morning. He said the man was not known to authorities to be involved in any terror activities, but the prosecutor did not comment on whether he had a criminal record.
Van der Sypt said the man’s home in the Molenbeek district of Brussels had been searched after the attack.
The man entered Brussels Central Station at 8:39 p.m. local time holding a suitcase and headed toward a group of people, Van der Sypt said. Five minutes later, his suitcase caught fire after a small explosion ignited in which no one was injured.
The attacker then ran down a flight of stairs toward a station employee and a soldier, Van der Sypt said. His suitcase exploded again.
As the attacker screamed “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic, a soldier shot the suspect several times, killing him.
The federal prosecutor said the man was not wearing an explosive belt, contrary to initial reports, and that he was carrying only the case that was full of nails and small gas canisters.
“It was clear he wanted to cause much more damage than what happened,” Van der Sypt said. “The bag exploded twice but it could have been a lot worse.”
The train station has reopened after closing Tuesday night in the aftermath of the incident.
The country’s terror level remains at three, signifying a serious and likely threat.
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