Van crashes into Brussels sidewalk terrace; 3 injured


BRUSSELS — Police detained a suspect after a speeding van clipped a sidewalk terrace in the center of Brussels and slightly injured at least three people Friday.

The van’s driver rode off after running into the some tables, said Willemien Baert, a spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor’s office. “We are still evaluating several possible motives,” she said.

“The facts remind us of attacks such as we have seen abroad. But this is not the only reason we are looking at,” Baert said, adding that it could have been an accident.

“A number of people were very slightly injured and were treated on site without having to go to hospital,” Baert told reporters.

Security camera pictures showed the white van driving through a narrow side alley of the Rue Neuve shopping street and clipping, rather than driving into, a few tables as people scattered to safety.

In past years, authorities in Europe have determined that people who drove into crowded public areas and caused multiple casualties sometimes held extremist beliefs or had mental health problems.

The committee that assesses Belgium’s risk of extremist attacks had the threat level Friday at 2 out of a possible 4, maintaining the level the country has had for some time.

“We are in close contact with our security services and are following this from close by,” Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said.

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