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Man who Drove through Antwerp Shoppers to Face Terror Charges | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Belgian police arrest a man for attempting to drive into a crowd of shoppers in Antwerp, Belgium. (AFP)

Terror charges have been laid down against a man who sped through a pedestrian shopping street in Belgium’s port city of Antwerp.

He faces terror offences including attempted murder after driving at high speed into a crowded shopping area, federal prosecutors said Friday.

No one was injured in the incident, but authorities said pedestrians had to jump out of the way of the vehicle of 39-year-old Mohamed R., a French resident of Tunisian origin. He also ignored an initial order to stop by soldiers.

He has also been charged with illegal possession of weapons. The authorities said they found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car after they arrested the suspect on Thursday.

French police sources had told Reuters it was possible the suspect had not been trying to hit anyone, but was probably drunk and trying to escape a police check.

Belgian media said police found the suspect asleep in his car after chasing him through town and he was too intoxicated to be heard about the incident. A source close to the investigation said the man was “under the influence of something” but it was not clear what substance.

He was not in a state to be questioned by police until Friday, sources said.

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

The charges were handed down by an investigating judge who ordered the suspect be held following Thursday’s incident.