Brussels Terror Alert: Man Held After Shopping Centre Bomb Threat

21/06/2016 08:30 | Updated 21 June 2016

Belgian authorities took a man into custody following a pre-dawn security alert at a major shopping center in downtown Brussels early on Tuesday morning.

The security operation followed an alert about a suspicious package. Belgium's Standaard newspaper reported that a man had called police threatening to blow himself up outside the mall.

Brussels prosecutors confirmed that a man had been taken into custody, but that no explosives were found at the City 2 shopping center.

SEPPE KNAPEN via Getty Images
Squad cars block the area as police officers gather at the scene of a bomb alert at the City2 shopping mall in Brussels

It later emerged the man had strapped a device around his waist containing salt and biscuits. 

A police spokesman said: "The man was arrested but it turned out that his suicide belt was fake. It contained salt and biscuits." 

Amid the alert, Prime Minister Charles Michel changed his morning program and a meeting of the Belgian crisis center was called.

Police in hoods and military wearing helmets were seen patrolling around at least one major entry to the shopping center.

Police cars were on the scene and the bomb squad was also called in. Some entries to the subway station were also blocked. 

Belgium has been living under a threat level which says an attack is possible and likely since the November attacks in Paris, some of whose perpetrators were either Belgian nationals or had lived in Brussels. On March 22, attacks on the Brussels subway and airport killed 32.

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