17/10/2023

Terrorist attack in Brussels by man who pledged allegiance to ISIS claims lives of two Swedish football fans

BRUSSELS — An armed terrorist attack unfolded in Brussels on Monday evening resulting in the tragic death of two Swedish nationals and the injury of another. Belgian authorities have initiated a comprehensive investigation into the incident, categorizing it as an act of terrorism.

On Monday, reports from Het Laatste Nieuws indicated that the assailant employed an automatic rifle near Sainctelette Square in the northern neighborhoods of Brussels. This shocking act occurred as the Swedish national football team was playing against Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium, approximately 5 km away. The match was canceled after the players refused to take the field for the second half in response to the attack.

Security advisories were issued, instructing the public to remain inside the stadium until the surrounding area was thoroughly secured. The Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office has officially launched a probe into the incident, confirming the assailant’s identity as Abdessalam al-Jilani al-Aswad, a Tunisian national residing illegally in Brussels. Al-Aswad, who claimed affiliation with the Islamic State (ISIS), was killed by police after a pursuit, according to official reports.

Swedish newspapers highlighted the context of escalating terrorist threats following the burning of the Quran in Sweden. Many extremists expressed their intent to harm Swedes, prompting Swedish Minister of Justice Gunnar Stromer to issue a warning about the heightened terrorist acts targeting Swedish citizens.

In response to the tragedy, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen strongly condemned the attack. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also expressed their condemnation, emphasizing the continued commitment to the fight against terrorism, violence, and intolerance.