April 7, 2017 / 11:45 AM / in 8 months

Belgium drops terrorism case against Antwerp driver

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian prosecutors dropped terrorism charges on Friday against a driver who sped down Antwerp’s main pedestrian thoroughfare last month, a day after an Islamic State follower ran down dozens of people in London.

A bomb disposal robot is seen removing items from a car which had entered the main pedestrian shopping street in the city at high speed, in Antwerp, March 2017. REUTERS/Joris Herregods

Mohammed R., a 39-year-old Tunisian living in France, hit no one as he drove down De Meir, forcing shoppers to leap out of his path. He still faces charges over weapons discovered when police later found him, drunk and incoherent, at the wheel and his detention was renewed for a further month.

Prosecutors said in a statement they had found insufficient evidence to maintain terrorism charges over the incident on March 23.

Antwerp’s right-wing mayor, a leading figure in Belgian national politics, has rejected criticism of his decision to call a news conference immediately after the incident, where he said city authorities looked to have foiled a terrorist attack.

The previous day, police had shot dead a British man at the Houses of Parliament after he had rammed dozens of people with his car on Westminster bridge. He killed five people.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Louise Ireland

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