Investigators are treating the incident as a "terrorist attack," said Erik Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office.

Belgium suspect shot after small explosion in main stationTwitter
news Explosion Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 12:36

Belgian authorities are working to determine the background of a suspected terrorist who was shot dead by soldiers patrolling Brussels' main train station after setting off a small explosion.

"There was an accident at Central Station. There was an explosion around a person. That person was neutralized by the soldiers that were on the scene," the police spokesman said of Tuesday's incident.

Officials from the Belgian Interior Ministry on Wednesday said they identified the suspect but were not releasing his name.

The train station reopened on Wednesday morning, according to DW's Max Hofmann.

Authorities later said that there were no other casualties in the incident.

Investigators are treating the incident as a "terrorist attack," said Erik Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office.

The attack took place around 9 p.m. local time (1900 UTC) when the historic city center was packed with tourists and locals. Police evacuated the station, Gare Centrale, as well as the nearby Grand Place. Belgian media reported that a number of other public places in the Belgian capital had also been cleared.

Prime Minister Charles Michel and his interior minister were monitoring developments from the national crisis center.

"Thanks to our soldiers, security forces and SNCB (rail company) personnel for their professionalism and their courage," Michel later wrote on Twitter.

Police wrote on Twitter that the situation was under control and urged the public to follow instructions. Gare Centrale and its surrounding roads remained closed through the night and into Wednesday.

'Wasn't exactly a big explosion'

National newspaper La Libre Belgique quoted the Brussels prosecutor's office as saying the suspect was wearing a backpack and an explosive belt. 

A witness in the train station told Agence France Presse a man "cried 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great), and ... blew up a trolley." 

Belgian media reported that the assailant is believed to have used a nail bomb, which failed to detonate completely. 

"I was behind a wall when it exploded," the witness, railway sorting agent Nicolas Van Herrewegen, said. "I went down and alerted my colleagues to evacuate everyone. He (the suspect) was still around but after that we didn't see him."

"It wasn't exactly a big explosion but the impact was pretty big. People were running away."

Brussels has been on high alert since twin suicide bombings killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and airport in March 2016. The bombings were carried out by the same extremist cell behind the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

Since then, combat troops have been stationed at major public buildings and landmarks around Brussels. The Belgian capital is home to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union.

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