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Anti-terror operation launched in Brussels after bomb alert at shopping center

Belgian police say they have arrested a suspect after reports of a man acting suspiciously triggered a bomb alert near a major shopping center in the middle of Brussels. An emergency crisis response meeting was called.

Belgian prosecutors said on Tuesday that police had detained a man suspected of carrying explosives near the City2 shopping center.

They later confirmed reports that no explosives had been found on the man or in a suspicious package found near the shopping center.

"He is being questioned at the moment," a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office said. "There were no explosives."

The Belga news agency cited prosecutors as saying the suspect was wearing a false explosives belt.

The "Standaard" newspaper, basing its report on police sources, said a man had called police threatening to blow himself up outside the mall, triggering a security alert.

Media reported that traffic in the Belgian capital was disrupted as military and police patrolled the area.

High security alert

Belgium's crisis center said it was holding a meeting to discuss the incident, with Prime Minister Charles Michel also in attendance.

Security forces in Belgium are currently on high alert. This follows

deadly terror attacks in Paris in November

where the perpetrators were either Belgian nationals or had lived in Brussels, and

attacks on the Brussels subway and airport

on March 22, in which 32 people were killed.

The incident at the shopping center comes just days after police raided dozens of homes in connection with a reported threat to football fans at the Euro 2016.

Three men were charged

with "attempted terrorist murder."

tj/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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