Security high in Brussels after explosion at city's central station

Security high in Brussels after explosion at city’s central station

BRUSSELS — Security was high around Brussels rail facilities Wednesday the morning after a man blew up an explosive device at the city’s Central Station in yet another attack this week in a European capital.

The man was shot by soldiers after detonating a small device there late Tuesday in what prosecutors are treating as a “terrorist attack.” He lay still for several hours while a bomb squad checked whether he was carrying more explosives and later died. No one else was hurt.

Central Station re-opened at 0800 (0600 GMT) Wednesday. A police command car and several officers were still at the station, an Associated Press photographer said.

Burn and blood marks remained on the floor at the scene, as workers continued to clean up and paint the area.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and a subway station on March 22, 2016.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon suggested to state media that a second, larger device at the scene did not go off.

“The big blast did not happen,” Jambon said. He refused to provide details or to identify the suspect.

Belgian media say the suspect was a 37-year-old man from the Molenbeek neighbourhood, the home and transit point for many of the suspects linked to bloody attacks in Brussels and in Paris in November 2015.

Jambon told VRT broadcaster that it is important to address security concerns but avoid over-reacting.

He warned “against a society where we always and everywhere will be checked. If we do that, it would be fulfilling the aim of the terrorists.”

“If you protect yourself everywhere against anything, in the end we will end up in a police state,” said Jambon, before taking part in a meeting of Belgium’s national security council.

Belgium’s Crisis Center said Wednesday that it sees no need to raise the national security alert level, which has been on its second-highest rung for more than a year.

It said that no public events would be cancelled but that additional police and troops have been mobilized.

Federal prosecutors, who examined the scene at the Central Station overnight, were due to hold a press conference at 0900 GMT.

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