Belgian shopping mall evacuated after man fires rifle in store

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) – A Belgian shopping centre was evacuated on Saturday (Oct 22) after a man opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle in a store in Chatelineau, 50 kilometres south of Brussels, Belgian media reported.

Police escorted dozens of shoppers out of the Cora mall after assailants burst into the store on Saturday morning in an apparent robbery attempt, national news agency Belga reported.

There were conflicting reports on the number of assailants, with RTL News citing the police commissioner as saying several gunmen were inside the store. 

Local paper La Gazette cited unnamed sources saying there were three. “Shots were fired with a Kalashnikov,” Mayor Daniel Vanderlick told RTL.

No one was injured and the men appeared to be after jewelery.

There was no suggestion from police that the incident had Islamist militant links. Suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed 32 people in Brussels in March.

Local police and federal prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.