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Man arrestet in Belgium attempting to drive into crowd in Antwerp

Man arrestet in Belgium attempting to drive into crowd in AntwerpBelgian authorities boosted security in Antwerp's downtown on Thursday after a car ran a red light and careened towards the city's main pedestrianised street, The Deutsche Welle reported.

Police chief Serge Muyters told reporters people had to "jump aside" to avoid the vehicle before it was intercepted at the port docks.

"A man in camouflage was taken away," Muyters said. Bomb disposal units were also dispatched to the scene.

The federal prosecutor's office identified the suspect as 39-year-old Mohamed R., a French citizen living in France. Authorities say they found a rifle, various knives and a gas can containing an unknown liquid inside the car.

The office said "because of these elements, and the events in London yesterday, the case is being taken on by the federal prosecutor's office," which usually deals with extremist attacks.

The incident came one day after four people died in a deadly rampage outside the British Parliament in London. A knife-wielding man was shot dead by UK police after he had ploughed a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman. Vehicles were also used in deadly attacks in the cities of Nice and Berlin last year.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Twitter the government was "following this situation as it develops" in the Flemish-speaking northern city.

"We remain vigilant. Our security services have done excellent work," the PM added.

Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever described the incident as a "potential attack avoided."

Belgium has been on high alert since March 22 last year when suicide bombers attacked the Brussels airport and subway network, killing 32 people and wounding 320. The country held remembrance services on Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of those attacks.
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