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Belgian Prosecutors Say Brussels Bomb Suspect Was Moroccan


It is unclear why the bomb failed to explode as planned.

Belgian prosecutors say a man suspected of setting off a bomb at Brussels Central Station was a 36-year-old Moroccan national.

Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said on June 21 that the suspect, identified only as O.Z., sought to detonate a bomb at the railway station late on June 20.

However, Van Der Sypt said the device, consisting of nails and gas canisters inside a bag, caused only a partial explosion, after which the man rushed to a soldier on patrol shouting "Allahu akbar" -- God is great in Arabic.

The soldier shot the man dead.

"It was clear he wanted to cause much more damage than what happened,” Van Der Sypt said.

He also said that the man’s home in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek was searched.

The man had no history of being a terrorist suspect

After convening a security cabinet earlier on June 21, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said a "terrorist attack had been averted" at the station.

Michel also said extra measures were being taken to secure stations, public places, and major events.

Molenbeek has a large immigrant population and was home to some of those involved in Islamic State attacks on Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016.

Attacks at the Brussels airport and on the city's subway killed 32 people in March 2016.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP