Man blows himself up on empty Belgian football field

The Belgian town of Verviers. Picture: www.hotelverviers.be

The man, a European in his fifties and former career military office, died in an explosion in what authorities think was a suicide.

A man died after blowing himself up on an empty football field in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers in an apparent suicide, the city’s deputy mayor Hasan Aydin said Tuesday.

“The individual, whose identity is not yet known, blew himself up in the middle of the football field around 0830 (0630 GMT) in the morning,”  Aydin told AFP.

“He was alone in the middle of the field,” he added.

“Suicide seems the most likely reason for the moment because if he had wanted to cause casualties, the man would have chosen another place at another time,” he added.

“It would seem that he is a European in his fifties and a former career military officer,” the deputy mayor said.

Contacted by the AFP, the federal prosecutor’s Office responsible for terror cases said that it was not responsible for this case, suggesting that police do not believe the incident involves terrorism.

Belgium was hit by jihadist attacks that killed 32 people on March 22, 2016.

An Islamic state terrorist cell was dismantled in January 2015 in Verviers that involved three jihadist returnees from Syria.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, considered the head of the terrorist teams that struck in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016, is suspected of having supervised this cell from Greece.

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