Brussels police detain driver of car carrying gas bottles

A file photo of a police officer taking part in the reconstruction of a shooting in which four officers were injured in Belgium.
A file photo of a police officer taking part in the reconstruction of a shooting in which four officers were injured in Belgium.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - Brussels police detained a man with suspected militant links who was found to be carrying two gas bottles in his car after he was pulled over on Thursday (March 2) for running a red light, officials said.

The man was not named and prosecutors said in a statement that it was too early to speculate on whether he had any criminal intent, although he was “known to police”.

The mayor of the district where he was stopped said police had previously suspected him of links to radical Islam.

With the Belgian capital on high alert approaching the first anniversary of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria suicide attacks that killed 32 people on March 22, an area close to the city’s main Gare du Midi rail station was sealed off and the bomb squad called in to check the car after local officers had pulled the driver over.

Reuters reporters heard two controlled explosions. 

The city prosecutor’s statement made no mention of anything other than the two gas bottles being found. 

An official said national counter-terrorism investigators had not so far been involved.