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Two police cars were torched in the mainly Muslim Brussels area of Molenbeek on Friday night, local media reported. One of the cars was burned in the street where key suspect in the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam was arrested earlier.
The first car was burnt in Quatre-Vents Street where Abdeslam was detained in March this year, RTL Belgian TV reported. The vehicle caught fire shortly after the two officers had left it, the Belgium RTBF channel reported.
Firefighters were called to extinguish the blaze. The police vehicle was completely destroyed in the fire, media said.
Shortly after the first incident, police received a call saying that another police car had been torched near De Roovere Avenue, next to a police station.
The vehicle was also severely damaged. RTL Belgium cited unconfirmed police reports, saying that a Molotov cocktail might have been thrown at the car. Le Soir newspaper suggested it was an arson attack, citing official sources.
An 18-year-old man was arrested shortly after both incidents.
Later, Belgian media wrote that a father living in De Roovere Avenue called an ambulance for his son, who had severely burned his hands. Belgian media theorized there might be a possible link between the incidents.
Molenbeek, a predominantly migrant area in Brussels, is often referred to as an “Islamist hotspot.” Paris attacks suspects, including brothers Brahim and Salah Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini (also involved in the Brussels attacks), and the mastermind behind the attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud grew up and lived in Molenbeek.
The district has witnessed repeated raids following the Paris and Brussels bombings.
Belgium is on high alert after the attacks in Brussels on March 22. The Belgian capital was hit by twin suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and Maelbeek Metro.
The Metro station was not far from the building housing the EU Commission and the Council of the European Union, as well as NATO’s headquarters.
How long before the police and fire fighters refuse to go into Molenbeek? That's a scary thought!