May 27, 2024

The Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was suspended at half-time after two Swedes were shot dead in Brussels earlier on Monday.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level as a man in a video on social media claimed that he was the assailant and that he was from the Islamic State.

“Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned,” UEFA said in a statement on its website.

The Swedish players told UEFA they did not want to play the second half and the Belgians agreed, Swedish broadcaster TV6 said.

Fans remained inside the King Baudouin stadium after the European Championship qualifier was stopped and chanted “All together, All together!”

The match was being played around 3 miles (5 kilometers) away from the shooting. The teams were tied 1-1 at halftime.

Belgium’s crisis asked citizens to avoid unnecessary travel and the Swedish FA said in a message to the team’s supporters on site that the Belgian police wanted supporters to stay in the arena for security reasons.

“Keep calm and take care of each other,” the FA said. “Our thoughts go out to all the relatives of those affected in Brussels.”

It was not immediately clear if the shooting was linked to terrorism, or to the Israel-Hamas war.

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters, said the two victims were Swedes.

“It’s awful the news that has reached us. We have all been affected and we are trying to deal with it, both team and supporters,” said Martin Fredman, the security chief of the Swedish Football Association, speaking to Swedish TV at halftime.

Belgium have already booked their place at the finals in Germany next year, while Sweden cannot qualify.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.

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