Belgian authorities have charged the Frenchman who drove his car at high speed through a busy shopping area in Antwerp with terror-related offences. The Federal prosecutor’s office said Friday that Mohamed R., 39, was charged with “attempted murder in a terror context,” and infractions against the gun law.
He added that the car was intercepted late Thursday morning at the port docks and a Frenchman living in France was arrested. Authorities then raised security in the centre of town, in places where people normally gather. In the car, authorities said they found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid.
No injuries were reported, but a bomb disposal unit was sweeping the car for explosives and inspecting an unidentified canister of liquid that was also found in the car.
“We remain vigilant,” said the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, on Twitter. “Our security services did an outstanding job in Antwerp.”
Antwerp is the second most important hub for radicalization in Belgium, and only Brussels has sent more people from the country to fight for Islamists in Syria. The city is home to the now-banned and defunct terrorist group Sharia4Belgium, but Antwerp has so far averted a large-scale terrorist attack.