Council leader close to Brussels 'bomb' drama

Repairs being made at Brussels Central station following the incident
Repairs being made at Brussels Central station following the incident

Blackpool's council leader has told how he was just a few hundred yards from the scene of a suspected attempted bomb attack.

Coun Simon Blackburn was in Brussels on business when the incident, at Brussels Central railway station unfolded.

Simon Blackburn

Simon Blackburn

The council leader, who is a member of the EU Committee of the Regions, appointed by the Government, was in a cafe close to the scene and saw first hand the police response.

He told reporters: "I was about 300 yards away from Brussels Central station.

"There was significant amounts of police activity around the cafe I was sat in.

"It's just another reminder of the issues we face at the moment.

"But the Belgian police appeared to be confident and on the ball with their response."

Coun Blackburn was also on business in Brussels last year when 32 people were killed in attacks on the city's main airport and a metro station.

The man suspected of setting off the Central station bomb has been identified as a 36-year-old Moroccan from a city district that has spawned a number of jihadist attackers.

The suspect came from Molenbeek and was carrying a bomb armed with nails and gas canisters, officials said.

He was shot and later died after the explosion, which is being treated as a terrorist attack.

He was known to police but had not been linked to terrorism, reports said.

Nobody else was hurt in the incident