'Isolated chemist' who placed explosives by train tracks was convicted for arson

'Isolated chemist' who placed explosives by train tracks was convicted for arson
The suspect detained after explosives were found by the train tracks near Jette will be placed in detention for a month. Credit: Google Street View

The man suspected of having placed a small amount of explosives by the train tracks of a Brussels municipality had already been convicted for arson, the public prosecutor's office confirmed Friday.

The 36-year-old man, who police described as an "isolated chemist," had been convicted to seven years in prison for arson in 2016 by a court in Ghent, but an Antwerp court released him in 2018 "under certain conditions."

"After his arrest [on Thursday], he admitted to having a bag of explosives in his possession. He said explosives were his hobby," Willemien Baert of the public prosecutor's office told Bruzz, adding that it was unclear why the man had left the explosives by the train tracks.

On Thursday, police agents found a small bag of explosives by the train tracks near Jette, on the outskirts of Brussels. The incident brought train traffic in the area to a halt, and the bag was destroyed by a specialized explosives unit.

The man had been sighted the day before, and a sweep conducted by police in the same on area on Thursday led them to discover the small bag, which contained gun powder and TATP.

Police searched the man's house after his arrest on Thursday but found no additional explosives.

He will appear before a magistrate on Friday, and the public prosecutor has requested his arrest for possession of explosives.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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