Belgian police have launched a city-wide manhunt after a gunman claiming to be a supporter of ISIS shot dead two people in Brussels.
The man opened fire on a group of Swedish football fans in a taxi as they passed through Boulevard d’Ypres just a few minutes north of the city’s famous Grand Plaza ahead of Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden.
Disturbing video taken by passers-by purportedly shows the attacker on a motorbike stalking people and shooting them in public, with other images circulating online showing the body of one person inside a taxi.
Dramatic video later appeared to show the gunman, who was dressed in a fluorescent orange jacket, fleeing on a motorbike while being tailed by a member of the public.
Following the incident the alleged attacker used the name ‘Slayem Slouma’ to boast about the two murders on Facebook, adding he sought to avenge the killing of a six-year-old US-Palestinian boy.
Speaking in Arabic, the man – named by local media as Abdesalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old of Tunisian origin – celebrated the slaughter, and said he committed them in the name of ISIS.
The shooter remains at large. Police confirmed that the man in the video – wearing an orange jacket, black scarf, yellow baseball hat and heavy black beard – was the one they were searching for in relation to the attack.
The city’s terror alert has been raised to a level 4 – its highest, with the spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor telling people to ‘Go home and stay at home as long as the threat has not been eradicated’.
Eric Van Duyse, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, said the investigation was centering on ‘a possible terrorist motivation for the shooting’ after ‘a claim of responsibility was posted on social media.’
‘This person claims to be inspired by Islamic State,’ Van Duyse said. ‘The Swedish nationality of the victims was put forward as the probable motive.’
The Swedes were wearing their team’s jerseys and were believed to be on their way to a match at King Baudouin Stadium, where Sweden were playing Belgium. A third person is said to be seriously injured.