Four people have been killed and 12 seriously hurt at a carnival in Belgium as terrorists drive a car at high-speed directly at the crowd.
At least four people were killed and more than 30 were injured on Sunday, when a car struck several people waiting to attend a carnival in the Belgian town of Strépy-Bracquegnies, 50 kilometers south of Brussels.
The incident took place around 5 am local time (3:00 UTC) during a traditional early morning Carnival ceremony held in the town each year.
A child is among those who have died, while 12 others were seriously injured, according to Jacques Gobert, mayor of the neighboring town La Louviere. Twenty others sustained further injuries.
Local news outlet Bel RTL quoted Gobert as saying that around 150 people had gathered to get ready for the annual folklore parade, involving costumes and drums.
"A car drove from the back at high speed. And we have a few dozen injured and unfortunately several people who are killed," Gobert told state broadcaster RTBF. "The driver was intercepted as he tried to get away," the mayor added.
Several in the crowd who witnessed the the attack said that the incident was a "deliberate act" and that the occupant of the vehicle, apprehended at the scene, was of "middle eastern origin".
Bel RTL reporter Fabrice Collignon was also among those who witnessed the event.
"We heard an immense noise...and the car literally went into the group of people," he said.
"It's a scene I never thought I'd see in my life," Collignon said, adding that "there was music and smiles and three seconds later, there were people screaming."
Belgium has a huge problem with Islamic terrorists which they appear to be reluctant to deal with. The country been the base of operations for terrorist attacks across Europe including the November 2015 Paris attacks. It has also been the place where many Islamist militants developed their extremist views before going to the Middle East to fight with ISIS.
The country has repeatedly suffered terrorist attacks on its own soil. On 22 March 2016 co-ordinated terrorist attacks killed 32 and injured hundreds more at Brussels Zaventem airport and on the metro system. On 29 May 2018, 2 police officers and a passer-by were killed in a shooting in the city of Liège in a suspected terrorist incident.
Belgium's threat level had been reduced from 3 to 2 (out of 4) but analysts suggest that the lower terrorist activity had been due to lockdowns and curfew measures due to the pandemic giving a false sense of security.
The situation is ongoing.