Police in Belgium have arrested a French man of Tunisian origin in the city of Antwerp after a chase near River Scheldt.
The driver has been named as 39-year-old Mohamed R.
He drove a car, reportedly registered in France, towards crowds forcing people to jump out of the way.
The car entered the main pedestrianised shopping street, De Meir, at high speed.
Police in Belgium are said to have detained a subject
We must continue to be on high alert
Soldiers on patrol attempted to stop the car but it ran a red light and sped off, before coming to a halt.
The rapid response team was called to St Michael's Quay, at Fortune Street, and the vehicle and the driver was intercepted.
Weapons were later found in the boot of the car, including knives, a ‘riot gun’ and a canister containing an unknown substance which bomb disposal are currently examining, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
A perimeter was established around the suspect vehicle and the bomb squad arrived.
A police spokesman said at a news conference: “At about 11 am this morning a vehicle entered De Meir at high speed due to which pedestrians had to jump away.”
Initial fears were the driver was trying to ram crowds, and the federal prosecutors, who typically handle cases of Islamist violence, did not give details of any motive but said they had been called in "based on all these elements and the events in London yesterday".
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Police raids are currently underway
Mayor Bart de Wever has raised the alert level and increased the number of police officers and soldiers on the streets.
He said: “I want to thank the fast response team which arrested the man in a professional manner and may have prevented much worse.”
French President Francois Hollande confirmed a French national was beloved to be involved in Thursday’s incident.
Images emerge after possible terrorist threat in Antwerp Thu, March 23, 2017
Police in Belgium have arrested a man of North African origin in the city of Antwerp after a chase near River Scheldt
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He said: "It seemed to involve a French national, with possibly a certain number of weapons in his boot – it's up to the judges to make a statement on that – who was looking to kill or at the very least create a dramatic incident.
"Therefore we must continue to be on high alert and mobilise all our forces.”
French authorities later said the man arrested on suspicion of wanting to carry out an attack was most likely drunk and was trying to escape a police check.
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A source said the suspect was unknown to the intelligence services, but known to police for common law crimes.
They added: "He did not want to drive into the soldiers. We think he wanted to escape a check.”
The incident comes a day after five people were killed – including the terrorist and a policeman – and at least 40 people were injured when a man rammed a car into pedestrians before stabbing an officer to death.
It also the day after the year anniversary of twin terror attacks at Belgium airport and metro which left 32 people dead.