The Brussels prosecutor is dismissing reports that a bomb exploded early Monday outside Belgium's criminal institute, describing the incident as more likely an arson attack designed to destroy criminal evidence.
Officials told a news conference that five people had been detained in the vicinity of the crime lab following the incident and were being questioned by police.
"It's probably not terrorism. It's a criminal act," said prosecutors' spokeswoman Ine Van Wymersch. "I cannot confirm that there was any bomb."
"The location was not chosen randomly," Van Wymersch added, saying the lab contains "sensitive information" being used in ongoing investigations.
The forensic facility assists and advises Belgium's justice authorities in carrying out their investigations.
State broadcaster RTBF and other outlets had reported that a car drove through a security barrier at the site about 2 a.m., followed by an explosion that caused significant damage to the facility on Brussels' north side. Nobody was injured.
Investigators said the suspected arsonists set fire to a laboratory used to analyse DNA samples found at crime scenes.
"So it's an act that could be linked to (destroying) several files," Van Wymersch said.
She said any explosion heard by residents may have been caused by material being consumed in the fire.