Belgium Raises Terror Alert to Highest Level as UEFA Abandons Match Amidst Tragedy
In a shocking turn of events, a man suspected of killing two Swedish individuals before the Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels has been shot and killed by the police in a cafe. The incident, described by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo as a “brutal terrorist attack,” led to the abandonment of the match at half-time by UEFA.
The two Swedish victims were targeted specifically as they were in Brussels to attend the Red Devils soccer match. A third person sustained severe injuries in the attack. Following the tragedy, Belgian authorities raised the terror alert in the capital to its highest level.
De Croo expressed sorrow over the incident, stating, “Last night three people left for what was supposed to be a wonderful soccer party.” He confirmed that the perpetrator specifically targeted Swedish supporters, leading to the loss of two Swedish lives and severe injuries to a third person.
The shooting occurred approximately 45 minutes before kick-off, three miles (5 km) from the stadium. With a score of 1-1 at half-time, UEFA suspended the game, instructing fans to remain inside the King Baudouin Stadium “until security permits them to leave.” Thousands of fans from both sides chanted in unity, expressing solidarity during the unsettling wait.
After midnight local time, the 35,000 supporters were allowed to leave in groups. Sweden coach Janne Andersson revealed that they were informed about the incident at half-time and, in consensus with the players and Belgians, decided not to continue with the match. Victor Lindelof, a defender from Manchester United and Sweden, stated, “The most important thing is that the supporters are safe now.”
Messages of solidarity poured in on social media platforms, with the Swedish FA posting on X (formerly Twitter): “Keep calm and take care of each other. Our thoughts go out to all the relatives of those affected in Brussels.” The Belgian national FA also expressed condolences, stating, “Our thoughts are with all those affected.” The tragic incident has left the football community in mourning and raised concerns about the safety of fans attending major sporting events.
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