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    Operation NightWatch: Shooting incident in Antwerp

    Credit: Belga

    On only the second evening of the Antwerp police’s new Operation NightWatch crackdown on drugs gangs, there are reports of a shooting incident the Deurne district of the city.

    Deurne is one of the “sensitive areas” where the nightly patrols of some 50 police officers will take place. The district has in recent months been the scene of shots being fired at building facades and grenades placed under cars.

    The incidents so far seem to have been more of a threat by one gang to another than real gang violence: there are no reports of victims, and even material damage has been minor.

    Nonetheless, Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) and police chief Serge Muyters launched what they described as the largest security operation in the city for 20 years, with extra police manpower and vehicles, including two armoured personnel carriers.

    The operation began on Friday and the watch passed without incident.

    The incident on Saturday evening, according to witnesses, involved four or five shots being fired. When neighbours came outside to see what was going on, they saw two men escaping on a motorcycle.

    Two bullet-holes were found in a garage door at the scene,” police spokesman Willem Migom told VRT Nieuws. The street was closed off. The forensic laboratory and an investigating magistrate came on site to investigate the evidence.

    This latest incident proves to us that [Operation NightWatch] is not coming too late,” Migom added. “It is a long process. We will continue as long as necessary.”

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times