Brussels Attack: Police Identify Attacker as Moroccan, Not Known for Terror

Brussels train station reopens after blast, reported to have caused panic among an estimated 100 people inside the station, but there we no casualties aside from the suspected bomber

A Belgian soldier stands guard outside Brussels central railway station in Brussels, Belgium, June 21, 2017.
FRANCOIS LENOIR/REUTERS

A federal magistrate in Belgium says that the suspect who was shot and killed by soldiers at the Brussels central station had Moroccan nationality and wasn’t known to authorities for terror activities.

Eric Van der Sypt said Tuesday that the man sought to explode a bomb on Monday but it failed to fully detonate. He said that “it was clear he wanted to cause much more damage than what happened. The bag exploded twice but it could have been a lot worse.”

Van der Sypt said the attack suspect’s bag at Brussels station contained gas canisters and nails. He said that the attacker then charged at soldiers while shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.” The soldiers fatally shot the attacker.

Brussels' Central Station reopened early Wednesday following a blast and an evacuation the night before, according to Belgian railway company SNCB. 

A suspect, who died after being shot at the scene by soldiers, has been identified as a 37 year old man from the Brussels' neighborhood of Molenbeek, according to several Belgian media outlets. A prosecutor said on Wednesday he was a Moroccan national who had no history of being a terrorist suspect.

Belgian authorities are treating the incident as an act of terrorism.

There were no other casualties, according to the federal prosecutor's office, which is due to give more details at 11:00AM local time.

The blast is reported to have caused panic among an estimated 100 people who were inside the station at the time.

Security services evacuated and cordoned off an area around the station, while ambulances arrived on standby.

Reuters contributed to this report.