'Bomb alert' in Brussels sparks large police operation

Belgian police officers in Brussels (Stock image)
Belgian police officers in Brussels (Stock image)

A large police operation is underway in Brussels as authorities' reports of a bomb alert are emerging.

Members of the bomb squad have attended the scene where a man is currently surrounded by police, BBC are reporting.

Nearby shops and streets near Place de la Monnaie in the centre of the Belgian capital have been evacuated and closed.

It is understood the suspect was behaving suspiciously and wearing a heavy winter coat with protruding wires.

Police say that they have the suspect "under control" but have not yet arrested him.

"We got a call about someone acting suspiciously. Someone with a heavy winter coat - in these temperatures it's very suspicious.

"And there were wires coming out of the coat too," Christian De Coninck of Brussels police told Belgian TV.

"We didn't take any risks. The person was stopped and kept at a distance.

"We are now waiting for more information from the bomb disposal unit which is at the scene now and then we'll know more."

Several hours after police were alerted to the man, he remains under guard near a library adjacent to Royal Monnaie Opera. A bomb squad is being kept on standby nearby.

The incident comes as Belgium remains on high alert after 32 people were killed in suicide blasts at Brussels Airport in March.

After the Bastille Day attack in Nice that left 84 people dead last week, security in Brussels had been further stepped up ahead of Thursday's independence day celebrations.