Man found wearing fake bomb belt causes security scare in jittery Brussels
BRUSSELS – Reuters
Belgian Army soldiers and Belgian police secure a scene after a bomb alert on a major shopping street in Brussels on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. AP PhotoA man who said he was wearing a bomb belt rigged to explode by remote control caused a major scare in a Brussels commercial district on June 21 before police found the device contained only salt and biscuits, officials said.
The Belgian capital remains on edge under a high security alert three months after three Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suicide bombers blew themselves up at Brussels Airport and in a metro train, killing 32 people.
On June 21, Brussels police detained a man near the bustling City2 shopping center after he announced that he was strapped with explosives that would be set off remotely. The area was sealed off while bomb experts checked the man’s belt.
The man, born in 1990 and identified as J.B., had called police himself to say he had been kidnapped and forced to wear an explosives belt. It proved to be a false alarm.
“J.B. is known to police, also because of mental problems,” a Brussels prosecutors spokeswoman said, adding however that the incident was still being investigated for possible connections to jihadist militants.
In 2014 J.B. told police he had been ordered to go to Syria to join Islamist militants fighting in the civil war there, an incident that remains under investigation, prosecutors said.
Police also located a car that brought J.B. to the shopping mall and were questioning the owner, a police spokesman said.
Belgium’s Crisis Centre, which oversees security measures, convened with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Interior Minister Jan Jambon present to discuss this incident.