Brussels attacker Moroccan, shouted ‘Allahu akbar’

The quick shooting of an attacker who tried to detonate a nail bomb and shouted “Allahu akbar” at a Brussels train station averted fatalities, officials said Wednesday, as Belgium increased security measures around the country.

The attacker was a 36-year-old Moroccan national not known to authorities for being involved in terror activities, federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt told reporters. He declined to say if the man had a criminal record.

The man charged soldiers at Brussels Central Station on Tuesday after his suitcase, containing nails and gas canisters, failed to fully explode, Van der Sypt said. It was a lucky escape for several travelers nearby.

The man then shouted “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” before the soldiers shot him dead, the magistrate said. Nobody else was injured.

“It was clear he wanted to cause much more damage than what happened,” Van der Sypt said. “The bag exploded twice but it could have been a lot worse.”

Earlier reports said the man was wearing an explosive belt, but Van der Sypt said that wasn’t true. He said the man was from the Molenbeek neighborhood, the home and transit point for many of the suspects linked to attacks in Brussels and in Paris in November 2015.

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