March 2. 2024. 3:18

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Belgium police probe gun drama near EU headquarters

Belgian police have arrested two suspects after gunmen interrupted a sale of second-hand luxury watches in an underground carpark near the Brussels headquarters of the European Union, prosecutors said Tuesday (7 February).

Late on Monday, heavily armed police flooded a residential street in the Belgian capital’s European Quarter, with a helicopter overhead, just days before the area is to host a summit of the 27 EU leaders.

According to initial information, a group was selling luxury watches in an underground parking space when a violent incident erupted.

Importante opération de police dans le quartier européen à Bruxelles: une vente de montres de luxe qui tourne mal

— DH les Sports + (@ladh) February 7, 2023

According to the prosecutor’s office, “two people were said to have been assaulted and held against their will… a gun is said to have been used”.

After the assault, two suspects fled the scene and the alleged victims were able to escape and alert neighbours who called the police.

Officers sealed off an address in a street fewer than 500 metres from the headquarters of the European Union’s main institutions for at least five hours.

The next day, investigators said two men aged 33 and 39 had been arrested and an investigation opened after a police complaint that two people had been assaulted and held against their will.

“The investigation continues,” the prosecutors’ office said.

This is the second attack in the heart of the EU institutions in the last few day, after police arrested an attacker who knifed three people in a Brussels metro station on 30 January.

Person arrested after three wounded in knife attack in Brussels

Belgian police have arrested an attacker who knifed three people in a Brussels metro station on Monday (30 January), leaving one with critical injuries, officials said.

Brussels struggles to keep its reputation of a safe city, where EU and world leaders often meet. On Thursday, the 27 EU leaders are due to meet at the European Council for their latest summit, possibly welcoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy’s presence at EU summit remains unconfirmed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been invited to take part in a summit of European Union leaders, the EU said on Monday (6 February), amid reports he could be in Brussels as soon as this week.