Thursday 23 January 2020

Belgian shopping centre evacuated as man opens fire with rifle

A Belgian shopping centre was evacuated on Saturday after a man opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle in a store in Chatelineau, 50 km (35 miles) south of Brussels, Belgian media reported.

Police escorted dozens of shoppers out of the Cora mall after assailants burst into the store this morning in an apparent robbery attempt, national news agency Belga reported.

There were conflicting reports on the number of assailants, with RTL News citing the police commissioner as saying several gunmen were inside the store. Local paper La Gazette cited unnamed sources saying there were three.

"Shots were fired with a Kalashnikov," Mayor Daniel Vanderlick told RTL.

No one was injured and the men appeared to be after jewelery.

There was no suggestion from police that the incident had Islamist militant links. Suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State killed 32 people in Brussels in March.

Local police and federal prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

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