Security tensions running high in Belgium on eve of EU summit

From the Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Security tensions were running high on Wednesday ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels, with police launching a search for a man they wanted to question over reports of unspecified threats.

Police patrol outside the King Baudouin Stadium, after a match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended, after a shooting in the center of Brussels, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. Belgian authorities raised the terror alert to its highest level in the capital late Monday after the fatal shooting of two Swedes in Brussels that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo linked to terrorism. The gunman remained at large. (AP Photo/Sylvain Plazy)

The Brussels prosecutor’s office later said authorities had detained a man in the case and were checking his identity.

The police operation came one week after an Islamic extremist shot dead two Swedes and wounded a third. Authorities said the Tunisian suspect died following a police operation trying to arrest him.

The search for the man wanted in connection with the unspecified threats came on the eve of the two-day European Union summit, which starts Thursday in Brussels, where the 27 EU leaders will discuss, among other things, the Israel-Hamas war.

Last week’s killings laid bare inefficiencies within the government and judicial apparatus, which had allowed the suspect to roam free in Brussels even though Tunisia had actively sought his extradition. The justice minister resigned over the incident last weekend.

Since the attack, the terror alert level in Belgium was raised to the second-highest level, meaning the threat is considered “serious.”

The federal prosecutor’s office also announced Wednesday that it detained a suspect with the semiautomatic rifle that was used to kill the two Swedes. He would be questioned later Wednesday before a decision on an arrest is made.