Antwerp driver charged with attempted 'terrorist' murder: Prosecutors

The man tried to drive into a crowd of shoppers at high speed in the port city of Antwerp. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Brussels, Belgium Mar 24, 2017, 04.18 PM (IST)

A man in the Belgian port city of Antwerp has been charged with terror offences including attempted murder after driving at high speed into a crowded shopping area, prosecutors said Friday.

The 39-year-old Tunisian, identified as Mohamed R was charged with "an attempt to murder in a terrorist manner, an attempt to hit and wound in a terrorist manner and arms infractions," the federal prosecutor's office said.

The authorities said they found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car after they arrested the suspect on Thursday.

The man drove at high speed through the shopping area, forcing people to jump out of the way, authorities said.

He also ignored an initial order to stop by soldiers.

A source close to the investigation said the man was "under the influence of something" but it was not clear what substance.

He was not in a state to be questioned by police until Friday, sources said.

The charges were handed down by an investigating judge who ordered the suspect be held following Thursday's incident.