At least six people were reported dead and dozens of others were injured following a car slamming at high speed into carnival revelers early Sunday in a small town in southern Belgium, the mayor reported. Authorities said the incident did not appear to be an extremist attack.
"At this stage, there are no elements to suggest that the attack had a terrorist motive," prosecutor Damien Verheyen told a news conference.
Jacques Gobert, mayor of the neighboring town of La Louviere, said between 150-200 people were gathered to get ready for the annual folklore parade, involving costumes and drums, when the vehicle appeared.
"A speeding car drove into the crowd ... The driver then continued on his way," said Gobert.
The two people driving the car, which was later intercepted, were detained. Police said they were local people in their 30s and were not previously known to police.
A crowd of over 100 were gathered in Strépy-Bracquegnies, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Brussels, at dawn Sunday for the start of celebrations of carnival which had been abandoned for two years because of COVID-19.
Media reports said the crash may have been caused by a car that was being chased by police. Police denied media reports the car was involved in a high-speed chase.
"What should have been a great party turned into a tragedy," said Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.