Shots were heard in the area of a police operation in Brussels some two hours after a raid linked to November’s Paris attacks began Tuesday (15 March).
Armed Belgian police, with French support, were hunting one or more fleeing gunmen who wounded three officers during the raid that was carried out in the Forest area of the Belgian capital, where many of the EU institutions are located.
A spokesperson for the local police service gave no details on how severe the injuries were.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed during a press conference held in the Ivory Coast that French police had participated in the cross-border operation.
Belgian media reported that shots, possibly from an automatic weapon, had been heard.
The situation is still developing.
A new campaign was launched on Thursday (7 January) to convince tourists that Brussels is now safe to visit after the city hosting the EU institutions was paralysed by a lockdown in November following the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Belgian security forces have been actively hunting suspects and associates of Brussels-based militants involved in the attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed.
Some of the attackers came from Brussels.
One of the prime suspects, 26-year-old Brussels-based Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, is still a fugitive. He left Paris shortly after his brother blew himself up in the attacks. Belgian authorities are holding ten people who have been arrested in the months since the attacks.
During the Brussels lockdown on 21 November, social media users were requested by the authorities not to share details of the ongoing operation. The inhabitants of the capital responded humorously to the situation, by posting cat pictures with the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown.
The ongoing situation has seen a return of the light-hearted Tweets, in an encouraging sign that Brussels residents haven’t lost their sense of humour.