IS group claims responsibility for Brussels shooting that killed two Swedes

The man, of Tunisian origin living illegally in Belgium, gunned down two Swedes and injured a third on Monday evening, just before the start of a Belgium-Sweden international football match

October 18, 2023 04:02 am | Updated 04:02 am IST - Beirut

Police officers work outside the site of a police operation against a deadly shooting suspect, in Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium, on October 17, 2023.

Police officers work outside the site of a police operation against a deadly shooting suspect, in Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium, on October 17, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Islamic State group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a shooting in Brussel’s that killed two Swedes, saying the attack targeted Sweden for its membership in a global coalition battling jihadists.

“An Islamic State fighter carried out an attack against” Swedish nationals on Monday, IS said in a statement issued on the jihadists’ news arm Amaq, adding that, “the attack comes in the context of operations called for by the Islamic State to target nationals of coalition countries”.

The man, of Tunisian origin living illegally in Belgium, gunned down two Swedes and injured a third on Monday evening on a street, just before the start of a Belgium-Sweden international football match.

The man -- identified in media reports as 45-year-old Tunisian migrant Abdesalem Lassoued -- was cornered and fatally wounded early on Tuesday, when Belgian police moved to detain him in a cafe.

The attacker had served a prison sentence in Sweden during the period 2012-2014, Swedish officials revealed Tuesday.

Also read | Belgium-Sweden football match halted following gunman attack in Brussels

In a social media post after the killings, the gunman had boasted of being inspired by the IS group.

The Swedish foreign ministry said the victims were a man in his 70s from the Stockholm region and a man in his 60s living abroad. The injured Swede was a man in his 70s currently in hospital.

It advised Swedes abroad “to observe increased caution and heightened vigilance.”

Sweden is among dozens of nations in the Global Coalition against Daesh, formed in 2014 after the militants seized huge swathes of Iraq and Syria.

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