International

Incident in Forest, Brussels as police hunt armed man

Richard Hartley-Parkinson

Brussels in lockdown after reports of armed gunman on the loose
A police officer prepares his gun while taking position on a rooftop in the Forest area of Brussels (Picture: Reuters)

Belgian police have sealed off part of a Brussels suburb amid media reports that at least one armed man could be at large.

Associated Press television images Thursday showed armed police officers hiding behind buildings and staking out a building rooftop in the Forest neighborhood of the Belgian capital.

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Masked police, some with automatic weapons, were aiming their guns high at a building near the Place Saint-Denis while a police helicopter flew overhead.

Broadcaster RTL quoted Forest mayor Marc-Jean Ghyssels as saying that police ‘suspect the presence of an armed man.’

A suspect in the deadly Paris attacks in November 2015, Salah Abdeslam, hid in Forest and was caught up in a shootout with police in a nearby apartment.

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Brussels in lockdown after reports of armed gunman on the loose
The incident is ongoing in the same area where Paris attack Salah Abdeslam hid following the attacks (Picture: Reuters)
Brussels in lockdown after reports of armed gunman on the loose
Police were seen on the roof of a building close to where a man was holed up (Picture: rtl.be)

A police spokesman said: ‘They are searching the buildings but we can say there has not been any terrorist attack.’

Brussels is still on alert after suicide bombers killed 32 people at the airport and on the metro in March 2016.

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Armed police were deployed to the scene at around 1pm.

There were reports from a shopkeeper that someone had been killed in the area shortly after midday.

There was no immediate indication that Thursday’s incident is terror-related.

Brussels in lockdown after reports of armed gunman on the loose
Broadcaster RTL quoted Forest mayor Marc-Jean Ghyssels as saying that police ‘suspect the presence of an armed man
Brussels terror
Armed police have swarmed parts of Brussels after at least one gunman was reported to be on the loose (Picture: RTL)

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