Brussels police find no explosives in car stopped by gunfire after high-speed chase

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 4:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 4:00am

Belgian prosecutors said on Tuesday that no explosives were found in a car stopped by police fire after a high-speed chase in the flash-point Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.

“Nothing suspicious was found in the vehicle,” said Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office.

The car was chased by police after running a red light and involved in two collisions until it was finally brought to a halt, she said. A witness, Mohamed Al Mossawi, said that the car’s tires were shot out by police. Van Wymersch said only one shot was fired.

“When the person got out, he immediately claimed that there were explosives inside,” Van Wymersch said.

She declined to identify the suspect, but said he was a Rwandan national born in 1981 who was not previously known to police.

A few hundred people were kept in nearby shops as a precaution while heavily protected army bomb disposal experts were called in to assess the situation.

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Unprotected police and forensic experts were later at the scene, taking objects from the car and examining them.

The all-clear was given just over three hours after the car was stopped. No one was injured.

Brussels has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people in attacks on the city’s airport and subway on March 22, 2016. Many suspects linked to those attacks and the November 2015 massacre in Paris lived in or transited through Molenbeek.