Antwerp driver charged with attempted murder

Belgian authorities detain man who drove a car down a pedestrian shopping street

A forensics expert stands next to a car which drove down the main pedestrian shopping street in Antwerp, Belgium, at high speed. Photograph: Joris Herregods/Reuters

A forensics expert stands next to a car which drove down the main pedestrian shopping street in Antwerp, Belgium, at high speed. Photograph: Joris Herregods/Reuters

 

A man who drove a car down a pedestrian shopping street in Antwerp has been charged with attempted terrorist murder, Belgium’s federal prosecutors said on Friday.

No one was injured in the incident on Thursday, but authorities said pedestrians had to jump out of the way of the car and police subsequently found knives in the vehicle.

The man, 39-year-old Mohammed R, a French resident of North African origin, has also been charged with illegal possession of weapons.

A French source close to the investigation said they believed there was no terrorist motive behind the incident and that the suspect had not been trying to hit anyone.

The source said that the suspect was probably drunk at the time and trying to escape a police check.

Belgian media said police had found the man asleep in his car after chasing him through town and he was too intoxicated to be asked about the incident.

“It appears he still wasn’t questioned this morning, given his state,” the French source said.

Belgium’s federal prosecutors did not give any further details about the case.

Reuters