BRUSSELS: A 2024 European Championship 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was abandoned at halftime after the fatal shooting of two Swedes in Brussels earlier on Monday.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level as a man in a video on social media claimed that he was the assailant and that he was from Islamic State.

A UEFA statement said: “Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned.”

Swedish reporters at the game said they had been informed of the attack just before the national anthems were played. Sweden’s players told UEFA they did not want to play the second half and the Belgians agreed.

The score was level at 1-1 when news of the suspension came and Sweden’s fans were asked to remain in the stadium pending emergency arrangements to escort them away.

The two victims were reported to have been wearing Sweden shirts when they were shot, according to Swedish media.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson told a press conference that they had asked not to carry on with the match.

He said: “When I came down for the break, I got this information. Immediately, I felt that it was completely unreal. What kind of world do we live in today?

“I came into the dressing room and when the team started talking we agreed 100 percent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”

Sweden captain Victor Lindelof told the press conference that the players never felt in any danger.

He said: “Our security team handled it well and put us at ease. They explained that this is the safest place to be in Brussels. Belgium are already qualified and we don’t have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play.”

Belgium had already booked a place at the finals in Germany next year while Austria’s 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan earlier on Monday meant Sweden could not qualify for Euro 2024.