EURO 2024 QUALIFIERS
Two Swedish fans shot dead in Brussels before Belgium vs Sweden Euro 2024 qualifier
The Belgian government has stated they are treating the shooting as terrorism, with an alleged Islamic State fighter claiming responsibility on social media.
Two people have been killed, and several others have been injured, after a gunman opened fire just after 7:00 p.m local time (1:00 p.m. ET) near Sainctelette Square in Brussels. According to local media, the perpetrator indiscriminately fired a Kalashnikov rifle, with witnesses claiming he had shouted “Allahu akbar!” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo confirmed on social media platform X, formerly twitter, the victims were Swedish soccer fans and had been in the city to attend the Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden.
Shooter takes responsibility for deaths on social media
The attacker, wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and a white helmet, first shot at the two deceased fans, who were in a taxi and wearing Swedish national team shirts. He then chased several people trying to take refuge at a building belonging to the Flemish Housing Fund. The shooter shot one of them again when they were already lying on the ground, before fleeing on a motorcycle.
The self-declared perpetrator is still at large but an individual who calls himself Slayem Slouma posted a video on social media taking responsibility for the shootings. However, he claims three Swedes were killed, rather than two.
Brussels on maximum alert after fatal shooting
Following the incident, the Belgian government have put Brussels on its highest level of security alert following talks at the National Crisis Centre. Spokesperson Antoine Iseux revealed Belgium’s coordinating body for threat analysis (OCAM) had raised the Belgian capital’s threat level to level 4, while the rest of the country was at level 3. The federal prosecutor’s office has taken over the investigation and claims the incident is being treated as terrorism.
The first half of the match was played before it was abandoned at half time, with Swedish supporters instructed to stay inside the King Baudouin Stadium for their own safety.