An Offaly man has been speaking to the Offaly Express about his experience in Brussels on Tuesday night, June 21, after the Belgian capital was the subject of a terror plot overnight.
Soldiers stormed the central train station in the city after a suspected suicide bomber set fire to a device and a small explosion occurred. The man was shot dead, and Edenderry man David Hickey has been describing the scene.
"I was having dinner with two work mates in a restaurant a few hundred metres from the train station, and we saw people running and shouting," he told us.
"People were hiding in the restaurant we were eating in, but it settled after a few minutes," he added. David is working in Brussels for a number of weeks and also told us that he had noticed soldiers patrolling the streets all week. "The city has been very busy and I have actually been using the train station every morning and evening," he told the Offaly Express.
Police and military personnel acted quickly to clear the area around the central train station in Brussels on Tuesday night, and David says he was not allowed back into his hotel for a number of hours.
"Our priority was to get back there but the police had the road blocked and our hotel was next to the station. We got back to the hotel at around 2.30am," David explained.
Belgian authorities have been reacting to the incident and a spokesperson from the federal prosecutor's office, Eric Van Der Sypt said, “This is considered as a terrorist attack." "The suspect was neutralised by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion,” he added.
Brussels has been on high alert for more than 18 months after it emerged the Islamic State militants who carried out attacks in Paris, killing 130 people in November 2015, were based in Brussels, and the fact that the city's airport and metro in March last year, claiming 32 victims.
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