Man crashes car into military barracks in Belgium, terror link downplayed

A damaged car sits outside the army barracks in Flawinne, Namur Province, in Belgium, after a man attempted to drive through the barrack's barriers on Oct 26, 2015.
A damaged car sits outside the army barracks in Flawinne, Namur Province, in Belgium, after a man attempted to drive through the barrack's barriers on Oct 26, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

NAMUR, Belgium (AFP) - A man drove his car into the front gates of a military barracks in the Belgian city of Namur on Monday (Oct 26), before fleeing on foot after guards fired warning shots, a prosecutor told AFP.

“The identity of the person is known and (they are) being actively pursued,” the official said, adding it was someone from the area.
The presumed assailant abandoned his vehicle nearby.

An AFP journalist at the scene said a military bomb squad had arrived on the site as well as a SWAT team.

The perimeter has been sealed off by police, with a helicopter flying overhead, he said.

Belgian prosecutors interrogating the man said terrorism was “not the main line of inquiry", Belga news agency reported. The suspect, born in Namur in 1983, “did not figure on terror watch lists” and was “practically unknown” to law-enforcement authorities, prosecutor Vincent Macq told a news briefing.

The Flawinne base in the central Belgian city is home to a commando battalion of 650 soldiers that participate in NATO operations and peacekeeping missions.

The incident stirred memories of recent deadly attacks, including the killing of four people at the Jewish museum in central Brussels in 2014 by a jihadist gunman.

In January, the security forces killed two suspected jihadist fighters in Verviers, eastern Belgium, who they said were planning imminent attacks.