Brussels: A bomb has gone off at the Brussels Institute of Criminology, without causing casualties, Belgian media say.
Shortly before 02:30 local time (00:30 GMT), a car rammed through three fences, RTL Belgium reports. “One or more” suspects then reportedly detonated a bomb near the laboratories. Belgium’s terror alert level remains high since bomb attacks on Brussels airport and the city’s metro, claimed by so-called Islamic State, that killed 32 people in March.
It is unclear what happened to the suspects behind the latest blast, which Belgian media said had caused “significant” damage. Fire service spokesman Pierre Meys told Agence France-Presse that the “extremely powerful” blast “was probably not accidental”. Some 30 firefighters helped put out the resulting fire.
Prosecutors said an investigation was now under way. Forensic analysis linked to criminal cases is carried out at the site, but RTL report that it is not the only laboratory of its kind linked to the police. Images submitted to RTL by nearby residents showed flames and heavy smoke rising into the night sky.
The independent institute, linked to Belgium’s federal justice body, is in Neder-Over-Heembeek, a suburb in the north of Brussels. Bilal Hadfi, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France during last November’s Paris attacks, lived in the suburb.