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Brussels van driver to be charged with attempted murder

Published August 27,2022

The driver of a van that crashed into the terrace of a brasserie and fast food restaurant on Friday in Brussels is to be charged with attempted murder, according to the news agency Belga.

The Belgian public prosecutor's service confirmed the charges on Saturday but declined to comment on the man's identity, Belga reported.

Belgian police arrested the man on Friday in Antwerp after he fled the scene of the incident that left six people with mild injuries. His vehicle was secured nearby.

Investigations had focused on whether the driver intentionally steered into the restaurants' outdoor areas due to terrorism concerns.

"I know that the facts are reminiscent of attacks that we have seen abroad," said Willemien Baert, a spokeswoman for the Belgian public prosecutor in a press conference after the driver's arrest on Friday.

"But at the moment we don't know if this case is certainly an attack," Baert said, adding the incident could have been a traffic accident.

The van crashed into the tables and chairs at 1 pm on Rue Saint-Michel, a side street near the well-known Brussels shopping street Rue Neuve.

The Belgian prosceution service has declined to comment on the driver's identity. The arrested man is not previously known as an extremist, according to the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

Due to the unclear background of the incident, the terror alert level for some urban areas was also temporarily raised. This was lowered as the investigation proceeded.