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BRUSSELS — Two Swedes were shot and killed in the Belgian capital Monday in what Belgian officials described as a possible terrorist attack, leaving a soccer stadium on lockdown and a city on alert as police searched for the suspect, who is reportedly still at large.
Details about the attack are still emerging and the attacker’s motive is not clear, though officials suggested that the victims may have been targeted because of their nationality. Sweden this summer raised its terror alert level after public desecrations of the Quran led to threats and demonstrations.
The shooting comes days after a teacher was killed and three people wounded in a stabbing at a French high school, and will deepen European fear of an uptick in political violence.
The shooting took place ahead of a soccer match between Sweden and Belgium, though not particularly close to the venue. UEFA, the soccer league, said the two teams and local authorities decided to abandon the match midgame. Belgian officials said they are exploring ways to safely escort fans from the venue.
Belgian officials have raised the threat level in the city and encouraged people to stay indoors. They also urged people not to circulate footage of the attack or the suspect.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo posted on X, formerly Twitter, that is was a “cowardly” attack. “We are monitoring the situation and ask the people of Brussels to be vigilant,” he wrote.
He said he had been in touch with Sweden’s prime minister. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones,” he wrote. “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”
Belgium’s foreign minister, Hadja Lahbib, wrote on X that she was “horrified” by the attack. “All necessary means must be mobilized to combat radicalism,” she wrote.
In July, six men were found guilty for their roles in a 2016 attack that killed 32 and injured hundreds in Brussels.