A terror suspect has been “neutralised” during a police operation in Brussels as investigations continue into Tuesday’s bombings and a new plot uncovered in France.
Witnesses described hearing at least two explosions and gunfire at the start of the raid in Schaerbeek on Friday, where the man was shot and detained by police.
Belgium’s public broadcaster, RBTF, reported that he was carrying a bag believed to contain explosives and had briefly taken a woman and child hostage.
Footage of the raid showed him lying injured on the ground by tram tracks as a bomb disposal robot approached.
— Harald Wolf (@Haedwo) March 25, 2016
A local resident who gave his name as Marios told the BBC he heard gunshots.
“I heard two very loud shots, I don’t know what they were,” he said. “Immediately within seconds police arrived…the streets were evacuated.”
Bernard Clerfayt, the mayor of Schaerbeek, said a suspect was shot in the leg and had been arrested.
He added that all blasts were controlled explosions carried out as a precaution by specialist bomb squads, who were seen operating a robot in the area.
Residents were told to stay inside and nearby trams were evacuated as soldiers and police put a large security cordon in place.
The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said the man was one of three people detained after a new terror plot was uncovered in France.
Reda Kriket, 34, was arrested in Argenteuil, Paris, on Thursday night over allegations he was at an “advanced stage” of planning an attack.
The French national was convicted for membership of a jihadist network in absentia last year, alongside Paris attacks ringleaderAbdelhamid Abaaoud and had been wanted under a European arrest warrant since August last year.