Still unclear if Brussels terrace crash was attack or accident

The Brussels public prosecutor's office is still taking into account that the incident in which a van drove into two terraces in Brussels on Friday afternoon may have been a terrorist attack, but other possibilities are certainly not being ruled out. The incident also may have been a traffic accident, said spokesperson for the public prosecutor Willemien Baert at a press conference on Friday.

The driver of the van has been arrested in Antwerp, but the public prosecutor's office does not want to comment on his age or judicial past.

The man had driven into two terraces in the Sint-Michielsstraat in Brussels at around 12.50 pm on Friday, after which he fled the scene in his van at high speed. Six people sustained minor injuries, no one had to be taken to the hospital.

"After the collision, a perimeter was immediately set up and we opened an investigation into the driver," said the public prosecutor's spokesperson. "The victims were questioned, as were several witnesses, and the images from surveillance cameras in the area were analysed. Shortly afterwards, at 1.15 pm, the van was found in the Middaglijnstraat in Sint-Joost-ten-Node. There it was examined as a precaution by the demining service of the army, DOVO."

How or why the vehicle was left there is still unclear. It is also unclear how the driver subsequently made it to Antwerp, a city about an hour's drive from the Belgian capital where the collision took place.

"The further investigation now has to bring clarity about the exact circumstances of the facts and the motives of the driver," the public prosecutor's spokesperson continues. "The facts are reminiscent of attacks we have witnessed abroad, and that is indeed a possibility, but certainly not the only one. All avenues are still open and are being investigated, including the possibility that this was a traffic accident."




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