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Belgium: Situation reportedly contained after explosion at Brussels Central Station June 20 /update 1

Explosion at Brussels Central Station prompts police to evacuate the train station and nearby Grand Place square on June 20; one suspect reportedly shot, police say situation now "under control"

21 juin 03h55 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 20/6/2017, 12h00 until 20/6/2017, 11h59 (Europe/Brussels). COUNTRY/REGION Brussels

Event

Belgian police evacuated Brussels Central Station as well as the nearby Grand Place square after an explosion was reported in the station on the evening of Tuesday, June 20. The national rail company SNCB subsequently suspended all rail traffic between Brussels North and Brussels Midi stations. According to Belgian law enforcement officials, one suspect has been shot and the situation is now under control. The nature of the explosion is not currently clear; the bomb squad has been called in to respond in case any additional explosives are found in the area. Reports that the suspect was wearing a suicide vest are currently unconfirmed. There are no reports of casualties besides the alleged assailant, although that could change as details are still emerging. A heavy security presence remains in place; anticipate transportation disruptions and avoid the area.

Context

Belgium remains on high alert for incidents of domestic and international terrorism after coordinated attacks at Brussels-Zaventem International Airport and the Maalbeek metro station on March 22, 2016, killed over 30 people and wounded more than 300 others. The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for both attacks. The national threat level is currently at "three," the second-highest.

Advice

Individuals in Brussels are advised to monitor the situation and to avoid the area around Central Station and Grand Place until the situation has been fully resolved. Remain vigilant and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the local authorities.

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