An extremely rapid police response time combined with the overindulgence of alcohol—ostensibly to build courage—prevented a Tunisian invader with a French residence permit from carrying out a successful car ramming terrorist attack in Antwerp, Belgium today.
|A police bomb squad robot (left) approaching the car used in the attempted attack.
Pedestrians only avoided being struck down by the vehicle by jumping out of the way, the HLN said.
When police stopped the car, they arrested the Tunisian, named as Mohammed R., and took possession of knives, a gas gun, false passports, military clothing, and a jerry can filled with “explosive liquid.”
Mohammed R. was found to be heavily under the influence of alcohol, which slowed his reactions and allowed his intended victims enough time to avoid being struck in the deliberate attack, which came the day after a nonwhite invader in Britain carried out an identical attack in the center of London.
According to police chief Serge Muyters, officers noticed the red Citroen at around 11 a.m. on the Meir, and attempted to bring it to a halt. The driver, however, put the car into reverse and drove rapidly toward the Scheldekaaien, where he ran a red light at the Meir bridge.
“We managed to intercept the vehicle on the St. Michielskaai and arrest the driver,” he added. Only seven minutes passed from the time that the police first noticed the vehicle until the driver’s arrest.
After his arrest, the police’s bomb squad were seen searching the vehicle, using a robot at first and then later with a physical search.
Mohammed R. has a criminal record in France for the illegal possession of weapons, but was not on any French or Belgian “radicalization” watch list.
The Meir is the busiest shopping street in Antwerp, and has been closed off with concrete blocks since July 14, 2016 precisely to try and prevent a terrorist attack, as had then recently happened in Nice, France.
Mohammed R. had taken advantage of the temporary removal of some the concrete blocks for supply trucks to enter the area for the shops, police said.
* Meanwhile, the British authorities have released the name of the London terrorist after ISIS issued a press statement claiming responsibility for that attack.
The terrorist was named as 52-year-old U.K. born Khalid Masood, who was living in the Birmingham area, and had a series of convictions for assault and other crimes.
Currently, the British police have at least 500 open investigations into Muslim terror plots in the United Kingdom—but Masood had not featured in any of them.