18:36 GMT +316 August 2018
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    Belgian soldiers patrol the shopping center City2 in central Brussels, Belgium

    Police Remove Cordons at Brussels Mall As Bomb Scare Proves False Alarm

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    Belgian law enforcement on Tuesday removed the cordons at a mall in Brussels that was evacuated after a potential bomb threat had been detected, police said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to earlier media reports, police detained a suspect at the mall, who could have been carrying explosives.

    The bomb threat comes less than two months after the deadly attacks that shook Brussels. On March 22, a series of blasts hit Brussels Airport and a metro station located near the EU institutions in the center of the city, killing 35 people.

    Investigation

    The bomb threat at the City 2 shopping center came early on Tuesday. The mall area was cordoned off, representatives of the emergency services and sappers arrived at the scene.

    According to the RTBF broadcaster, the suspect himself called the police.

    The authorities reportedly feared that the suspect was wearing a suicide belt.

    Later in the day, authorities confirmed that no explosives have been found.

    Suspect

    According to the Derniere Heure newspaper, the man detained over the bomb threat carried salt in his pretense "suicide belt."

    The suspect could be mentally unstable, the paper reported.

    However, according to a statement by Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens, the suspect could have links to the Islamic State terrorist group, which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia, and which took responsibility for the March attacks in Brussels.

    There have also been reports of a second suspect detained in the case not far from the mall, however, no further information followed.

    Authorities

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel held an emergency meeting on the matter, after which he stated that the situation was "under control."

    The Interior Ministry’s Coordination Center for Threat Analysis (OCAM), following the emergency meeting on Tuesday, left the current third level of terrorist threat in Brussels unchanged.

    City Services

    The bomb threat did not affect the metro services in the city, except for a number of stations located close to the City 2, Brussels police said.

    The police also said that the part of the city close to the mall, where traffic had been suspended over the bomb scare, has be re-opened for cars. However, some streets closest to the City 2 remain roped off.

    Related:

    Shopping Mall Evacuated in Brussels Over Bomb Threat
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    false alarms, bomb threat, Belgium, Brussels
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