An unidentified gunman, suspected of carrying out a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of two Swedish nationals in Brussels, remains at large as Belgian authorities intensify security measures to safeguard many visiting soccer fans.
This fatal shooting incident occurred on Monday while Belgium hosted a Euro 2024 qualifier soccer match against Sweden at the King Baudouin Stadium, just 3 miles (5 kilometers) from downtown Brussels. The attack forced the match to be prematurely abandoned during half-time.
In a video posted on social media, a man identifying himself as the gunman claimed “to be inspired by the Islamic State,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said, adding “the Swedish nationality of the victims was mentioned as a probable motivation for the act.”
“At this stage, there are no indications of a potential link with the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Based on both the facts and the claim, security measures have been taken as a matter of urgency to protect Swedish fans as much as possible,” spokesperson Eric Van Duyse said during a press conference.
The deadly shooting follows a spate of Quran-burning protests in Sweden and Denmark that has caused angry demonstrations in Muslim-majority countries, heightened security fears, and left both Scandinavian nations questioning whether they need to review their liberal laws on freedom of speech.
Belgian authorities condemned the attack.