Brussels Gunman Attack Halts Belgium-Sweden Football Match

**Swedish Supporters Stranded After Shooting Incident at Euro 2024 Football Match in Brussels**

Belgian police are currently searching for a gunman who brutally killed two Swedish citizens, believed to have extremist motives, before disappearing into the night. The incident was so disturbing that authorities took the precautionary measure of shutting down a Belgium-Sweden football match, keeping 35,000 fans inside the stadium for several hours. Eric Van Duyse, spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office, revealed that the investigation is focused on a possible terrorist motive, following a claim of responsibility that was posted on social media.

The suspect in question claims to be inspired by the Islamic State, and the Swedish nationality of the victims is being seen as a probable motive. This tragic event comes after Sweden raised its terror alert to the second-highest level in response to threats from Islamic militant groups, which arose following a series of public Quran-burnings by an Iraqi refugee living in Sweden. Despite speculation, there is currently no evidence linking this incident to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In response to the shooting, the terror alert in Brussels was raised to level 4, indicating an “extremely serious” threat. The rest of the country has been raised to level 2, which denotes an average threat. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed his condolences to the Swedish Prime Minister, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in the fight against terrorism through a statement on social media.

Meanwhile, security measures were swiftly implemented to protect the Swedish supporters who were present at the football match. It took over two hours for authorities to send a message through the stadium screen, instructing fans to leave calmly. As the stands emptied, the police presence intensified as they continued their search for the gunman. Fans, like Caroline Lochs from Antwerp, described their feelings as frustrated, confused, and scared.

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Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden confirmed the severity of the shooting in Brussels and assured that the perpetrator is actively being pursued. Media reports have shared amateur videos that captured the moment the assailant arrived on a scooter wearing an orange fluorescent vest. He swiftly abandoned the vehicle and began firing a large weapon at passersby. Unfortunately, two Swedes lost their lives, while a local taxi driver sustained injuries but is not in critical condition. After the attack, the gunman swiftly fled the scene on his scooter, disappearing into the darkness.

While this incident resulted in the loss of two lives, the impact has reverberated throughout Europe, evoking a sense of fear and unease. Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, expressed her horror at the indiscriminate killing in Brussels, emphasizing the importance of society remaining impervious to terror and extremism. It is crucial that people feel safe and united against hate.

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