Astonishing image captures moment terror suspect detonated 'suicide bomb' in Brussels train station before being shot by police
An astonishing image captured the moment a terrorist detonated a suspected suicide bomb in Brussels’ central train station.
Eyewitness Remy Bonnaffe was walking through Belgium’s busy rail terminal when he heard at least one explosion.
The 23-year-old lawyer captured a picture on his phone of a fireball in the main foyer.
Mr Bonnaffee told Belgian channel HLN: “Everybody started running.
“And then there was popping a series, I suspect gunshots.
“Obviously I ran out, and many people fled inside the Hilton [Hotel].”
Another witness reported hearing a man screaming “Allahu akbar!” during the incident – police would not confirm this.
The Arabic phrase – which means ‘God is great’ – has frequently been shouted by Islamic extremists during attacks.
Authorities later confirmed a suspect detonated “a relative small device” in Brussels Central Station at around 8.30pm local time.
He was then “neutralised” by armed police who responded.
Prosecutors are treating the case as an attempted terror attack.
It appears no one else was injured in the incident and the bomb caused minimal damage to the station.
Police later said they were carrying out a ‘controlled explosion’ at the scene.
Tourists were among those who fled in panic, and within a few minutes nearby shops and restaurants were shutting down.
The Grand Place, the city’s most popular tourist spot, was completely evacuated because of fears that the man might not be acting alone.
“The attacker was shot several times, and it appears that he triggered a device,” a source saod.
There were some reports of the suspect having worn a suicide belt although that has yet to be confirmed.
The image taken by Mr Bonnaffee appears to show a human-sized ball of flames but there were also reports the bomb may have been in a backpack or suitcase.
“I think we had some luck tonight,” Mr Bonnaffe said when he finally made it home.
“I’m happy that no one was injured and that this was basically a failed attempt.”
Emergency services were deployed but police immediately said the situation was under control with no other casualties.
The Prime Minister, Charles Michel, urged people to follow instructions from the authorities in a tweet.
Brussels has been on the highest state of alert for more than a year after a series of devastating attacks on its transport system in March 2016.
Three coordinated suicide bombings took place at the city’s airport and at the Maalbeek Metro station, with a total of 32 people killed, and 300 people injured.
Three terrorists linked to Islamic State died in the bloodbath, and all were linked to those who carried out another devastating attack on Paris in November 2015.