A bomb exploded at the Brussels Institute of Criminology in the north of Brussels on Monday but the building was empty and no one was wounded, broadcaster RTL said.
A car rammed through the barriers at about 3am local time and one or more attackers exploded a bomb near the laboratories which caught fire, RTL said.
It was not immediately known what caused the blast, but a fire service spokesman, Pierre Meys, said “it was probably not accidental.”
“The explosion was extremely powerful,” said Meys. “Windows of the lab were blown out dozens of metres away.”
Police have deployed in force and sealed off the area. RTBF said no one was injured but that damage at the site is significant.
The institute assists and advises Belgium’s justice authorities in carrying out their inquiries. Among its tasks is to carry out scientific analyses linked to criminal cases and to study the functioning of the penal system.
The explosion occurred with Belgium on high alert after suicide bombers struck Brussels airport and a metro station near the European Union headquarters on March 22, killing 32 people.
Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group, which controls large areas of territory in Iraq and Syria and has claimed numerous terror attacks in Europe in recent months.