Belgian police intercept car and thwart ‘attempted terrorist attack’

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Police officers and and Sedee-Dovo, the mine clearance service of Belgian defence, patrol in Antwerp where Belgian police arrested a man on Thursday after he tried to drive into a crowd at high-speed in a shopping area in the port city of Antwerp, a police chief said. The man was of north African origin and used a car with French registration plates, Antwerp police chief Serge Muyters said. The incident came a day after an attack on the British parliament killed three people plus the attacker, as well as after the first anniversary of the Brussels attacks in which 32 people died. (VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

ANTWERP, BelgiumĀ — Belgian police intercepted a car that was speeding toward a busy shopping area and refused to stop, authorities said Thursday.

The car, registered in France, was driving “at a very high speed” in central Antwerp, Belgium’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.

French President Francois Hollande called the incident “an attempted terrorist attack.”

“At different times, pedestrians were put at risk. When soldiers attempted to intercept the vehicle, it fled,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Authorities eventually managed to stop the French driver and detain him. Weapons were found inside the vehicle, officials said.

“He was looking to kill people and to cause something dramatic,” Hollande said in a statement.

The incident comes one day after an attack in London — which started with a driver plowing into people with a vehicle — killed three people.