The man was arrested last Thursday in Antwerp following a high-speed chase on the Meir main pedestrian shopping street had not previously been flagged up as being radicalised in France.
No one was injured in the incident, but authorities said pedestrians had to jump out of the way and police found knives in the vehicle of 39-year-old Mohamed R., a French resident of North African origin.
The man has an address in Lens (in the north of France), and was not thought, up to now, to have been involved in any form of organized crime.
in Antwerp has been charged with attempted terrorist murder, Belgium’s federal prosecutors said.
He has also been charged with illegal possession of weapons.
A French source close to the investigation said they believed there was no terrorist motive and that the suspect had not been trying to hit anyone. The source said that the suspect was drunk and trying to escape a police check.
Belgian media said police found the man asleep in his car after chasing him through town and at first he was too drunk to be interrogated about the incident.
“Mohamed R.” is aged 39, “of French nationality and living in France.” Another source close to the investigation said that the man has a French residence permit but is of Tunisian nationality.