UPDATE: Explosions in Antwerp caused by hand grenades

Summary

Two explosions early this morning damaged some 15 cars and seven houses in the Antwerp district of Deurne

‘Malicious intent’

Two explosions took place on Van Heystveltstraat in Deurne, a district of Antwerp, at about 3.00 this morning. Residents awoke to the blasts, which damaged 15 cars and the facades of seven houses.

Van Heystveltstraat is a residential street just off the busy Bisschoppenhoflaan near Bisschoppenhof Park. Windows in the cars are smashed, and the tyres are blown.

The federal police said this morning that the blasts appeared to be "of malicious intent" and confirmed this afternoon that they were caused by two hand grenades.

The explosions call to mind another blast in Antwerp that happened in January, causing two residential buildings and a restaurant to collapse, killing two people. That explosion has been confirmed to have been a gas leak.

Police do not yet know who is responsible for setting off the hand grenades. As this is not the first incident in this Deurne neighbourhood – previously cars and houses have been shot at – there is a suspicion of drug syndicate activity.

Antwerp is home to an active illegal drugs market because of the presence of the port, Europe’s second largest.

This article was originally published at 9.00 on 16 March and was updated at 17.30.

Photo courtesy Google