Belgium raises terror alert to highest level as two Swedes shot dead in Brussels

Euro 2024 qualifier between Sweden and Belgium abandoned after attack

Two Swedish nationals have been shot dead in Brussels and one other person injured, police said on Monday. Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level as a man in a video on social media claimed that he was the assailant and that he was from Islamic State.

Laura Demullier of the country’s Ocad anti-terror centre said the highest priority for authorities was to get thousands of football fans attending a Belgium-Sweden football match safely out of the King Baudouin Stadium. The Euro 2024 qualifying match was abandoned at half-time.

The killings happened some 5km from the stadium, where more than 35,000 fans were watching the game.

The attacker was still at large.


The man who claimed to be the assailant identified himself as Abdesalem Al Guilani and a “fighter for Allah”.

“The population needs to be actively vigilant and avoid any unnecessary travel,” Ms Demullier said.

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo confirmed on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that the victims were Swedish.

The Belgian federal prosecutor later said that two people had been killed and one wounded in the attack

“I have just offered my sincere condolences to the Swedish PM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels,” Mr de Croo said on X.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones. As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one,” he said.

One Belgian newspaper said it was likely that the victims were two soccer supporters.

A police spokesperson confirmed that two people had been killed in a shooting incident near the centre of the Belgian capital but declined to give further details.

A spokesperson for Brussels prosecutors, who are handling the case, also declined to give any details concerning the victims or any possible motive.

Swedish justice minister Gunnar Strommer said in a statement: “Tonight we have received terrible news from Brussels. The government office and relevant authorities are working intensively to get more information about what happened.”

The Swedish government was in direct contact with the Belgian government, he added.

French president Emmanuel Macron said Brussels was again hit by an “Islamist terrorist attack”. Mr Macron, who was on a visit to Albania, added: “Europe is being shaken”.

Video footage posted on the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper website showed a man in an orange jacket on a scooter at a street intersection with a rifle first firing two shots, then three more, then running into a building, firing two more shots, leaving, taking a few steps back again and shooting one more time.

One Belgium newspaper said a witness said the gunman shouted “Allahu akbar” before the shots were fired.

European soccer’s governing body Uefa said on its website: “Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the Uefa Euro 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned.”

Swedish reporters at the game said they had been informed of the attack just before the national anthems were played, and the Swedish players told Uefa they did not want to play the second half and the Belgians agreed, Swedish broadcaster TV6 said. – Reuters/AP