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20 homes damaged in Antwerp explosion that police say is related to drug trade

09:13 04/04/2023

An estimated 20 homes were damaged in an explosion in Antwerp over the weekend that police say is related to the drug trade.

Despite the damage, only one minor injury was reported.

The explosion took place in the vicinity of Franklin Roosevelt Square. The one person who was slightly injured was hurt as a result of shards of glass.

Houses in four streets were damaged, but the damage was mainly glass.

The residence suspected to have been the target of the explosion is more heavily damaged, and five vehicles were also damaged.

The fire brigade responded to the scene and a large security perimeter was set up. Several people in the neighbourhood were evacuated and residents were asked to stay outside because the amount of glass debris is quite large.

An investigation has been launched and police suspect the incident is drug-related, although no leads have been ruled out, according to spokesperson Wouter Bruyns.

“Given the seriousness of the impact of this attack on the neighbourhood, I have asked the local police to carry out an extensive neighbourhood investigation with house-to-house visits to talk to all residents and gather as much information as possible,” said Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever.

“This violent incident shows once again how organised drug crime must be fought with all its might in this country.

"With all due respect to the recent efforts and commitments made by the federal government, the federal judicial police remain understaffed. Let's hope that we won't have to wait for another innocent victim to finally deploy the necessary resources.”

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons