Belgium

Bomber at train station 'was an ISIS supporter'

Police officials and a soldier on alert outside Gare Centrale in Brussels on Tuesday (June 20). No one was injured in Tuesday's foiled attack at Brussels Central Station, but officials said the consequences could have been severe had the bomb full of
Police officials and a soldier on alert outside Gare Centrale in Brussels on Tuesday (June 20). No one was injured in Tuesday's foiled attack at Brussels Central Station, but officials said the consequences could have been severe had the bomb full of nails and gas canisters detonated properly. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS • Belgian investigators found evidence on Wednesday that a suspect who set off a bomb at a Brussels train station in the latest in a wave of attacks on Europe had sympathies with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Police found explosive materials in a raid on the suspect's home in Molenbeek, a Brussels district linked to recent deadly terror plots in France and Belgium.

The Belgian authorities identified the man, who was shot dead by a soldier, as a 36-year-old Moroccan national with the initials O.Z., while local media named him as Oussama Zariouh. Prosecutors said police have taken into custody four people who were in "regular contact" with the suspect.

No one was injured in Tuesday's foiled attack at Brussels Central Station, but officials said the consequences could have been severe had the bomb full of nails and gas canisters detonated properly.

"It could have been much worse," Belgian federal prosecutor's spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told reporters. The man shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the Greatest) during the attack, he said, confirming witness reports.

Molenbeek Mayor Francoise Schepmans told Le Soir newspaper that the bomber was an "isolated individual" who had recently got divorced. He had been linked to a drug offence, but not radicalism. RTL radio said he ran a telecoms shop in Molenbeek.

Brussels was already on high alert after suicide bombers struck at Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek metro station near the European Union headquarters in March last year, killing 32 people.

ISIS claimed the attacks, which were carried out by the same Brussels-based cell behind the November 2015 suicide bombings and Paris shootings which killed 130 people.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Bomber at train station 'was an ISIS supporter''. Print Edition | Subscribe