March 23 (UPI) -- Police in Antwerp arrested a French national from northern Africa for allegedly trying to run down shoppers on a busy thoroughfare Thursday morning.
Police identified the suspect only as "Mohamed R," a 39-year-old living in France. Witnesses said he drove a small red car into a crowd on De Meir, the northern city's largest shopping street. Pedestrians were able to avoid being hit and police responding to the scene were able to stop the vehicle and arrest the driver, officials said.
Police found a knife, a nonlethal riot gun and an unidentified liquid in the trunk.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel praised police for "outstanding work" in apprehending the suspect and avoiding any casualties.
The incident comes a day after a man inspired by the Islamic State drove into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, injuring dozens and killing two people before attacking the British Parliament, where he stabbed a police officer to death. The suspect in that incident was killed by police.
The incident in Belgium came a day after the one-year anniversary of the bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people.