BRUSSELS – A self-proclaimed Islamist militant shot dead two Swedish citizens in central Brussels on Monday night, the federal prosecutor said. The gunman claimed to be inspired by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The attack comes at a time of heightened security concerns in European countries related to the Israel-Hamas conflict and days after a teacher was fatally stabbed in northern France.
French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to events in Brussels saying “our Europe is being shaken”.
Here is a timeline of past Islamist militant attacks in Belgium:
Nov 10, 2022 – A Belgian police officer is stabbed to death. The suspect was on a security agency list of radicalised Muslims and had been taken to a psychiatric ward hours before the attack.
Mar 22, 2016 – Brussels becomes the target of Islamist attacks when 32 people are killed in suicide bomb explosions at the airport and in the city’s metro. ISIS claims responsibility. Six men were convicted of murder and two others of terrorism charges in July.
Nov 13, 2015 – Paris is rocked by multiple, near simultaneous gun and bomb attacks on entertainment sites around the city, in which 130 people die and 368 are wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Two of the 10 known perpetrators were Belgian citizens and three others, while of French nationality, lived in Brussels.
Four months later, Salah Abdesalam, who has become Europe’s most wanted man, is arrested following after a shoot-out in Brussels. He has since been convicted for terrorism related charges in France and Belgium.
Aug 21, 2015 – A 25-year-old Moroccan man, Ayoub El Khazzani, wounds three people on a high-speed Thalys train in northern France before being overpowered by passengers who included a US soldier. He boarded in Brussels.
Jan 15, 2015 – A week after militant Islamist attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish grocery, Belgian police kill two men who opened fire on them during one of about a dozen raids against an Islamist group that federal prosecutors said was about to launch “terrorist attacks on a grand scale”.
Sept 29, 2014 – Belgian prosecutors accuse 46 members of Islamist group Sharia4Belgium of belonging to a terrorist organisation and brainwashing young men in Belgium into fighting a holy war in Syria. Convictions were handed down in February 2015.
May 24, 2014 – Four people are killed in a shooting at the Jewish Museum in central Brussels. The attacker was French national Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, who was subsequently arrested in Marseille, France. REUTERS
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