At least fifteen houses damaged after explosion in Antwerp, possibly linked to drug environment

A heavy explosion in the center of Antwerp damaged at least fifteen houses and at least five cars in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The explosive went off around 3 a.m. report Belgian media. The police suspect that there is a link with the drug environment, but do not want to rule out other causes for the time being. One person was slightly injured by broken glass.

A police spokesman told the Belgian broadcaster VRT that homes in four different streets were damaged by the bang. This mainly concerns glass damage. The building that was probably the target of the attack has been propped up by the fire brigade.

Read also: This ‘drug war’ is not a Flemish get-together – the Dutch play a prominent role

Antwerp has long been plagued by violence in the drug environment. Only one and a half week ago there was an attack on another building in the city, which also damaged several houses and cars. The drug war has an emphatic Dutch link: in recent months, several Dutch people have been arrested in Belgium. Because they had committed attacks on homes or because they were caught with weapons and incendiary bombs to commit an attack.

Last summer, in which Antwerp experienced a wave of unprecedented violence, Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open-VLD) had to go into hiding after a serious threat from the drug world. Where criminals first mainly threatened and intimidated each other, this seemed to be the next phase in drug terror: people from the ‘upper world’ were also in danger. Four Dutchmen were subsequently arrested. It is suspected that they wanted to kidnap the minister. The low point followed last January, when an eleven-year-old girl died after her home was shot at. “There is a drug war going on,” Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever said on television at the time.