Man With 'Suicide Belt' of Cookies Nabbed in Brussels
He claimed to have been enlisted by ISIS
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2016 9:47 AM CDT
Belgian soldiers move at the scene of a bomb alert in Brussels.   (Virginia Mayo)
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(Newser) – A man wearing a fake explosive belt filled with salt and cookies sparked a major security alert outside a downtown Brussels shopping center and an emergency meeting of government ministers Tuesday. Police say the man—known to police and thought to have had psychiatric problems, according to prosecutors—claimed to have been abducted and dropped off at the City2 complex, per the AP. He said that the "suicide belt" would be detonated remotely. A prosecutor says authorities are investigating whether the incident had links to terrorism or whether it was a hoax. The man, identified only as JB, was taken in for questioning and had recently informed police that he had been enlisted to join ISIS. Prosecutors weren't able to prove or disprove his claim.

A second man, who is suspected of driving him to the scene, was also being questioned. Amid the alert, Prime Minister Charles Michel changed his morning program, and a meeting of the Belgian crisis center was called. Belgium—which has been on at least its second-highest security alert level since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris—has been particularly on edge over the last week following a series of arrests and police raids linked to suspected terror attacks. Over the weekend, authorities charged three men with terror-related crimes after two days of raids and the detention of 40 people in a major investigation that they said required "immediate intervention." Unconfirmed media reports suggested that a shopping complex, an American fast-food chain, and police were among the possible targets.