Swedish furniture giant Ikea has announced it is ramping up security in its Belgian stores after the terror attack in Brussels on October 16.
That incident, reportedly carried out by an illegal migrant with a radical Islamic background, appears to have been aimed at Swedish nationals. It is speculated the shooting dead of two Swedish football fans could be a retaliatory attack for recent Quran burnings in the Nordic country.
Speaking to local media, Ikea spokesman Colombine Nicolay confirmed the chain was taking additional safety measures at all eight of its Belgian stores.
“Safety has always been our priority and, by decision of Ikea Belgium, we have taken additional security measures for the reopening of stores this Tuesday,” he told reporters.
“You will understand that I cannot detail the measures that are taken but customers can come in complete safety and the opening hours of our stores remain unchanged,” he added.
“We remain in close contact with the authorities.”
A man identifying as a supporter of the Islamic State murdered two men and wounded another on Monday. The police shot the man dead on Tuesday morning. https://t.co/h1SHO4aGAe
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 17, 2023
Police are still reportedly trying to piece together the background of the terror attack, with the incident also injuring at least one person.
The shooting took place after thousands of Swedish football fans arrived in Brussels for a Euro 2024 qualifying tie. The match was abandoned at half-time and spectators were evacuated.
After being at large overnight on October 16, law enforcement claimed they had finally caught the gunman the following morning.
Locating the man in a café in Schaerbeek, police are said to have shot him before taking him into custody. Officers were also able to recover the firearm believed to have been used in the attack.
The man was then transported to hospital via ambulance, where he was eventually pronounced dead.
Prosecutors have also confirmed that they are now looking for another individual concerning the terror incident.
Update 17/10 9h30 – Les mesures de sécurité restent actuellement en vigueur : vigilance accrue et présence policière visible renforcée. Les mesures seront réévaluées dans la journée.
— CrisisCenter Belgium (@CrisiscenterBE) October 17, 2023
Brussels remains on terror level 4, with authorities requesting “increased vigilance” from the public, although no formal restrictions on travel or other activities have been imposed.
The response from Belgian state apparatus has been chaotic, with European and Dutch language schools around Brussels closing due to the threat while their French-language counterparts have opted to stay open.
Belgium’s Crisis Centre reports that the terror threat level will be re-evaluated on October 17.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country will be “merciless” in deporting foreign extremists residing in France. https://t.co/AdtK7p1GOC
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 16, 2023