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Brussels 'bomb alert': Belgian police surround 'suspicious' man wearing long coat with 'wires coming out'

The man has been stopped by police and a bomb squad called

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 20 July 2016 14:42 BST
A radiation student was carrying out an experiment in the Belgian capital when suspicions were raised
A radiation student was carrying out an experiment in the Belgian capital when suspicions were raised (Sky News/Caroline Bordecq)

Police have surrounded and stopped a man wearing a long coat, reportedly with wires coming out of it, in a major police operation in the centre of Brussels.

According to Belgian media, the man was described by police as acting suspiciously and was brought "under control", though he has not yet been arrested.

Images from the scene appeared to show a large area near the Place de la Monnaie cordoned off, and some nearby shops have been evacuated.

A bomb squad and Swat team are on the scene.

Brussels police said over Twitter that "following police intervention, a cordon has been established" around part of the Place de la Monnaie and nearby streets.

At 3:40pm police said the situation remains "unchanged" and a cordon remains in place.

According to local reports, the man has not made any threats and is being spoken to by police.

It is understood the police operation was based upon the man's "suspicious behaviour" and it was decided that no risks should be taken.

At least one image posed to social media and shared on Belgian TV showed a man in a long coat, kneeling with his hands in the air as police point their guns at him.

Other images showed the extent of the police presence and the size of the cordoned-off area.

Christian De Coninck of Brussels police told Belgian TV: "We got a call about someone acting suspiciously. Someone with a heavy winter coat - in these temperatures it's very suspicious."

"There were wires coming out of the coat too. We didn't take any risks. The person was stopped and kept at a distance."

The incident comes as police in Brussels exercise extreme caution in the wake of attacks which killed 32 people in March this year.

And it is a day before Belgium celebrates its national day on Thursday, with events due to take place under high security across the country.

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