Sunday 30 April 2017

Man with 'militant links' arrested after police find two gas cylinders in his car in Brussels

Police officers stand at a cordon during the investigation of a suspect car in the center of Brussels on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Belgian authorities have closed off part of the center of Brussels and a subway station after a suspect was detained with gas canisters in the trunk of his car. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Police officers stand at a cordon during the investigation of a suspect car in the center of Brussels on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Belgian authorities have closed off part of the center of Brussels and a subway station after a suspect was detained with gas canisters in the trunk of his car. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Police and members of the bomb squad investigate an area in the center of Brussels on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Belgian authorities have closed off part of the center of Brussels and a subway station after a suspect was detained with gas canisters in the trunk of his car. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Police stand in back of a cordoned area in the center of Brussels on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Belgian authorities have closed off part of the center of Brussels and a subway station after a suspect was detained with gas canisters in the trunk of his car. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Brussels police detained a man with suspected militant links who was found to be carrying two gas cylinders in his car after he was pulled over on Thursday for running a red light, officials said

After checks were conducted on the vehicle, prosecutors said that one of the cylinders was empty, and no explosive or mechanism of detonation was found in the car.

An official said national counter-terrorism investigators had not been involved.

The man was not named. Prosecutors said it was too early to speculate on whether he had any criminal intent, although he was "known to police".

The mayor of the district where he was stopped said police had previously suspected him of links to radical Islam.

With the Belgian capital on high alert approaching the first anniversary of Islamic State suicide attacks that killed 32 people on March 22, an area close to the city's main Gare du Midi rail station was sealed off and the bomb squad called in to check the car after local officers had pulled the driver over.

The police cordons have now been removed.

Reuters reporters heard two controlled explosions. Prosecutors later confirmed the explosions were executed by the army's bomb squad.

Reuters

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