Brussels shooting: In video, gunman says 'I am from Islamic State' as he kills two Swedes
Brussels shooting: The gunman created such fear that authorities stopped Sweden versus Belgium European Championship qualifier football match.
Brussels shooting updates: The gunman, who killed two Swedish nationals and wounded a third in downtown Brussels in Belgium on Monday night, reportedly identified himself as a member of the Islamist State in a video posted online.
In the video message recorded by the self-declared perpetrator, the suspected gunman, who is still at large, said, “Islamic greeting Allahu Akbar. My name is Abdesalem Al Guilani and I am a fighter for Allah. I am from the Islamic State. We love who loves us and we hate who hates us. We live for our religion and we die for our religion. Alhamdulah. Your brother took revenge in the name of Muslims. I have killed three Swedes so far Al hamdoulelah. Three Swedish, yes. Those to whom I have done something wrong, may they forgive me. And I forgive everyone. Salam Aleykoum.”
Prosecutors, however, are investigating a possible terrorist-related motive. European cities have been on high alert for possible extremist acts after the attacks by Hamas in Israel. But prosecutors said that there was no indication yet of a link to the conflict.
The federal prosecutor said the third victim, who was wounded but not in life-threatening condition, was a taxi driver. It called on residents in Brussels to stay indoors until the threat was over. European Commission staff were also advised to stay indoors.
The gunman created such fear that authorities shut down a Belgium-Sweden soccer match and held 35,000 fans inside for several hours as a precaution.
Sweden and Belgium were playing a European Championship qualifier football match in Brussels, but the game was suspended at halftime after the news of the shooting. Fans had been asked to remain in the stadium for safety, but are now being evacuated.
Brussels raised its threat level to 4, which asks people to avoid non-essential movement.
“We are monitoring the situation and ask the people of Brussels to be vigilant,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a post on X. He later posted, “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”
Interior minister Annelies Verlinden said, “A horrible shooting in Brussels, and the perpetrator is actively being tracked down.”
Several media reports aired videos showing a man arriving on a scooter in an orange fluorescent vast, dropping the vehicle and immediately taking out a large weapon and opening fire on passersby. The attacker then picked up his scooter and sped off into the gathering darkness.
News agency Reuters reported that Sweden in August raised its terror alert to the second-highest level, warning also of an increase in threats against Swedish interests abroad, after Koran burnings and other acts in Sweden against Islam's holiest text outraged Muslims and triggered threats from jihadists.
The shooting comes at a time of heightened security concerns in some European countries linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict. France is deploying 7,000 extra troops onto its streets after a teacher was fatally stabbed on Friday in an attack President Emmanuel Macron condemned as "barbaric Islamic terrorism."
(With inputs from agencies)