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Brussels crime lab set alight to 'destroy evidence', five held

Several attackers rammed a car through the gates of the crime laboratory in the wee hours today and then started a fire. Photograph: (Reuters)

Agencies Brussels, Belgium Aug 29, 2016, 12.06 PM (IST)
Hours after National Institute of Criminology in Brussels was set alight  in an attack that prosecutors said was 'more likely linked to organised crime than terrorism', five suspects were detained, according to Reuters news agency for questioning.

However, according to AFP, the five suspects were 'arrested' after the blast in the wee hours at the country's national crime lab just north of Brussels caused major damage but no casualties.

Several attackers rammed a car through the gates of the crime laboratory today and then started a fire in what prosecutors said may have been an attempt to destroy evidence, reported the news agency.

The AFP report also stressed the prosecutors informed there was no immediate reason to believe there was any terror link while Belgium is still on high alert after deadly Islamic State-claimed attacks in March.

"The possibility of a terrorist act is not confirmed," Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels' prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Wymersch said the crime lab, which gathers and analyses evidence, "was not chosen by chance. It is an important part of the justice department and deals with sensitive information in connection with several ongoing cases."

"It goes without saying that several individuals may have wanted to destroy evidence... An investigation is underway and several lines of inquiry are being considered," the statement said.

"Late (in the) night, around two o'clock, a fire broke out at NICC, the (Belgian) National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology, in Neder-Over-Heembeek in Brussels. Because of the late hour, nobody was present in the building. As a result, nobody was injured," she elaborated.

She added several attackers entered the site of the institute by car around 2 am and went into the wing of the building where the laboratories are located.

(WION with inputs from AFP, Reuters)

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