Brussels Shooting: Shooter Kills Two Swedes, Forcing Soccer Game Abandonment

Nearby Soccer Fans Scared After Brussels Shooting (Picture taken from CNN)

The highly anticipated Euro 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden occurred on October 17th. While fans were busy cheering and supporting their favorite teams, police were dealing with a shooting three miles (five kilometers) away from the match. As Prime Minister Alexander De Croo labeled it, this “harrowing act of terrorism” forced fans and players to evacuate the stands at halftime

 Two Swedish citizens, around 60–70 years old, were shot dead by the gunman in downtown Brussels. A video captured by an onlooker portrays the shooter wearing a bright orange vest and holding an automatic rifle, the weapon assumed by the police to be directly involved in the shooting. Shortly after, the perpetrator released a video now admitting to being the shooter in the attack.

The police response to the gunfire was swift, but unfortunately, a third victim was reported to have suffered severe injuries during the shooting. After chasing the perpetrator, police officers engaged in a shoot-out with the suspect. The suspect was shot in the chest following the conflict and swiftly sent to the hospital, but sadly passed away the following day. 

 The motive of the attack is thought to be a hate crime against Swedish citizens. Moreover, police found that the suspect was living in Belgium illegally. 

The video released by the perpetrator, identified by the police as Abdesalem Al Guilani, contained a short statement about his religious standing and motive for the attack.

Allahu Akbar. My name is Abdesalem Al Guilani, and I am a fighter for Allah. I am from the Islamic State. We love who loves us, and we hate who hates us. We live for our religion, and we die for our religion. Alhamdulillah. Your brother took revenge in the name of Muslims. I have killed 3 Swedes so far, Al Hamdoulelah. Three Swedish, yes. Those to whom I have done something wrong, may they forgive me. And I forgive everyone. Salam Aleykoum

According to Belgian media, France also tightened controls at the border following the attack in Brussels. Belgian officials and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo gave their official condolences to the families of the victims connected to the shooting.

After this frightening demonstration of violence, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. The strength of the human soul radiates through in snapshots of misfortune, and we stand joined in our obligation to harmony, security, and the relentless soul of sportsmanship. As the country tries to mend and push ahead, citizens worldwide should give their hearts to remembering the victims.

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