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Brussels Crime Lab Torched In Apparent Attempt To Destroy Evidence

A crime lab in Brussels has been set on fire in what prosecutors describe as an apparent attempt to destroy evidence.

Around 2 a.m. local time, the perpetrators reportedly rammed a car through barricades at Belgium's national crime institute and then set fire to a lab, Teri Shultz reports for NPR from Brussels.

Five people have been detained in connection with the attack, says Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor's office. "This location was not chosen by accident," she says.

Van Wymersch says terrorism is not suspected at this time and that the attack likely was an effort to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, Schultz reports.

Early reports described a bomb attack, but investigators now say they are not sure there was any explosion. No casualties have been reported.

The BBC reports:

"The building is not yet safe to enter, Ms. Van Wymersch said, so it was not possible to fully dismiss reports a bomb had exploded.

"The five people were arrested near the laboratories soon after the fire was reported, Ms. Van Wymersch told a press conference.

" 'The location was not chosen randomly,' she said. 'It's an important site, that includes sensitive documents relating to current investigations.' "

Prosecutors suspect organized crime might have been involved, rather than terrorists, according to Reuters.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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