By Michael Birnbaum and Annabell Van den Berghe
BRUSSELS - An explosion went off at a major Brussels train station Tuesday, and “an individual had to be neutralized” by soldiers, Belgian authorities said.
A small explosion was heard near an individual in Brussels Central Station, and soldiers who were in the station “neutralized” the individual, according to a spokeswoman for the Belgian federal prosecutors.
Authorities were not sure whether the person was wearing an explosive belt, was carrying a bag filled with explosives or was transporting the material in some other way, said the spokeswoman, who spoke under traditional ground rules of anonymity. She said that authorities believed they may have interrupted a bigger attack and that a search of the station was currently underway.
Brussels Central Station was evacuated and sealed following the incident, the Belgian rail operator said, as police and soldiers swarmed the area and other parts of central Brussels.
Belgian authorities said the situation was under control, and Brussels fire officials said that no one had been hurt as a result of the apparent explosion.
The incident comes as Europe is on high alert following several terrorist attacks, days after a foiled attack on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Monday and several attacks in recent weeks in Britain.