The European qualification round 8 match between Belgium and Sweden at the King Baudouin Stadium was marred by a violent incident, prompting its suspension for safety reasons.
The game was halted by Mariani M., an Italian referee, after the first half as players prepared for the second half. Tragically, two Swedish football fans were fatally shot in Brussels, resulting in the suspension of the match.
The Interior Minister, Annelies Verlinden, initially informed the public through her official social media account, stating, “A shooting took place in the centre of Brussels this evening. Two people of Swedish nationality lost their lives. Since the motive for this attack is probably terrorist, the investigation is entrusted to the federal prosecutor’s office”.
Following the incident, the perpetrator had initially eluded authorities. However, in the early hours of Tuesday, the Belgian police reported that they had located and neutralized the assailant.
The suspected terrorist, Abdessalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old of Tunisian origin, was discovered in a café in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood. He sustained injuries during the encounter with the police and was subsequently confirmed dead.
Annelies Verlinden verified that security forces and intelligence services swiftly acted to neutralize the assailant.
“The perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Brussels has been identified and died. We thank the intelligence and security services as well as the prosecution for their rapid and decisive intervention last night and this morning” Annelies Verlinden added.
However, Annelies Verlinden extended her condolences to the Swedish family who tragically lost their loved ones in the heinous attack carried out by the Tunisian-origin terrorist. She also reassured that essential measures had been implemented to enhance the safety of the stadium.
She added, “The necessary measures are currently being taken to track down the perpetrator and ensure safety in and around the King Baudouin Stadium. Our condolences go out to the victims and their relatives”.