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Belgium Drops Terrorism Charges against Antwerp Driver | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Soldiers patrol on Meir shopping street in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, March 23, 2017. (AP)

Terrorism charges against a driver who sped through pedestrians in the Belgian city of Antwerp last month were dropped on Friday over a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors said in a statement that they had found insufficient evidence to maintain terrorism charges over the incident on March 23.

Mohammed R., a 39-year-old Tunisian living in France, hit no one as he drove down De Meir, forcing shoppers to leap out of his path.

He still faces charges over weapons discovered when police later found him, drunk and incoherent, at the wheel and his detention was renewed for a further month.

Antwerp’s right-wing mayor, a leading figure in Belgian national politics, has rejected criticism of his decision to call a news conference immediately after the incident, where he said city authorities looked to have foiled a terrorist attack.

The previous day, police had shot dead a British man, an ISIS follower, at the Houses of Parliament after he had rammed dozens of people with his car on Westminster Bridge. He killed five people.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office had said soon after the Antwerp incident that the suspect was charged with “attempted murder in a terror context,” and infractions against the gun law.

Authorities found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid when they searched his car.