Antwerp police intercept speeding car and thwart 'attempted terrorist attack'

Belgian police respond Thursday after a man allegedly drove a speeding car toward a crowd in Antwerp.

Story highlights

  • Riot gun was among cache of weapons found in driver's car, prosecutor's office says
  • French President: The driver "was looking to kill people and to cause something dramatic"

(CNN)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, the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said.
    French President Francois Hollande called the incident "an attempted terrorist attack."
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    "At different times, pedestrians were put at risk," the prosecutor's office said. "When soldiers attempted to intercept the vehicle, it fled."
    Authorities eventually managed to stop the 39-year-old French driver and detained him.
    Anouk Leemans saw police make the arrest.
    "The police chased the man and arrested him calmly," she told CNN via the messaging app WhatsApp. "A crowd quickly gathered but the police were keeping everyone calm."
    Leemans said authorities took photos inside and around the car after a bomb robot searched it.