Europe

Brussels alert due to radiation student

Image from social media showing police officers pointing guns at a man with his hands above his head Image copyright Fatima Zibouh
Image caption This was the scene at the corner of Rue de L'Ecuyer

A large police operation in the Belgian capital which lasted all afternoon was a false alarm, officials say.

Police were called following reports that a man was acting suspiciously and wearing a coat with wires protruding.

The operation has ended and the man was apparently a student of nuclear radiation at a university in Ghent.

The city was on high alert ahead of Belgium's National Day on Thursday. An attack in Nice on France's Bastille Day last week left 84 people dead.

Christian De Coninck of Brussels police said officers could not take any risks: "This person was covered in plates, metal plates, or something that could be explosives.

"In the end it turned out to be a student. He was researching radiation and radioactivity in the city.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The police security cordon was taken down after several hours

"The way he reacted was totally abnormal, which is why we had to use all these means," Mr De Coninck said.

The bomb squad was called, shops evacuated and several streets closed.

The BBC's Gavin Lee in Brussels says police negotiated with the man for an hour before he was arrested.

Thirty-two people were killed in bomb attacks in Brussels earlier this year.

Last month, a man was arrested amid an anti-terror operation at a shopping centre in the city. Prosecutors said he was wearing a fake suicide belt containing salt and biscuits.

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