Brussels terrorism suspect admits to having made up story

A suspect who triggered a false security alert in Brussels early Tuesday with a fake explosive belt has admitted that there was no truth to the story he told police, the crown prosecution said.

Brussels has been on high alert following suicide bombing attacks in the Belgian capital on March 22 in which more than 30 people were killed.

On Tuesday, a man called the police at around 5:30 am (0330 GMT), saying that he had been abducted and driven to a shopping street in central Brussels, wearing an explosive belt that was due to be set off remotely.

The police found the man, who has been named only as JB, born in 1990. Upon examination, the belt was found to contain salt and biscuits, the prosecution said earlier Tuesday.

During a visit to the home of the suspect's mother, leftover materials were found from the construction of the fake explosive belt. Confronted with this evidence, the man confessed to having invented the story of his abduction, the prosecution later said.

It has asked for the man to be placed under arrest after spreading false information about the danger of an attack and said he should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. A judge is due to take a decision Wednesday.

JB is known to the police for various incidents, some of which are linked to psychiatric problems. He recently told the police that he had been incited to join the Islamic State extremist group in Syria - a claim that cannot yet be confirmed or rejected, the prosecution said.

Tuesday's incident triggered a national crisis centre meeting, attended among others by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, while the shopping area was cordoned off and stores were temporarily told to stay shut.

Last update: Tue, 21/06/2016 - 19:52
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