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Brussels bomb alert suspect was wearing 'fake suicide belt'

Belgian prosecutors say a man arrested during a bomb alert in Brussels was not carrying any explosives. A security operation is now being wound down, though authorities remain on high alert.

Belgian federal prosecutors said on Tuesday that a suspect who triggered an

early-morning bomb alert at a major shopping center in Brussels

was wearing a false explosive belt, and that police had scaled back operations at the site.

"No bomb has so far been found. The suicide vest found on a suspect was fake," the prosecutors' office told AFP news agency.

Belga news agency reported that a man had called the police early on Tuesday and threatened to blow himself up at the City 2 shopping center. Police then took a suspect, thought to be the same person, into custody, where investigators found him not to be carrying any explosives.

Emergency meeting

Following an emergency meeting of the security cabinet held over the incident, Prime Minister Charles Michel reassured the population.

"The situation is for now under control. We remain vigilant," Michel said.

The alert led to a bomb squad team being deployed to the shopping center, causing some disruption of traffic, according to media.

Belgium remains in a high state of alert after

March 22 bomb attacks

at the airport and on the subway left 32 dead. The perpetrators of the deadly attacks in Paris in November have also been found to be either Belgian or have links to the country.

Tuesday's incident comes only days after Belgian police raided dozens of homes amid a reported threat to fans watching during a Euro 2016 football game.

Three men were charged

with "attempted terrorist murder" following the raids.

tj/kms (AFP, dpa)

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