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“Terrorist motive” suspected | Police officer killed in knife attack in Brussels, suspect arrested

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(Brussels) A police officer succumbed to his injuries after being attacked with a knife on Thursday evening in Brussels by a man who was arrested and the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, competent in terrorism matters, was seized of the investigation.

“We have taken over the file, because there is a suspicion of a terrorist motive, which will of course have to be confirmed or invalidated by the investigation”, declared Eric Van Duyse, spokesperson for the federal prosecution.

A suspect, hit by a return fire from another police officer, was arrested and hospitalized. During the attack, two police officers were targeted and injured. One of them did not survive.

Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden condemned in a tweet a “horrible drama”, “unacceptable violence”.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo paid tribute to the killed police officer and to an entire profession “who risk their lives on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our citizens”. “My sincere hope is that his hospitalized colleague will be fine,” he added.

The facts occurred around 7:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek, in the Gare du Nord district.


PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

According to several Belgian newspapers, the suspect had “made threats against the police” earlier in the day in a police station in another Brussels municipality, without being worried.

For a reason that remains to be clarified, a man armed with a knife attacked a patrol of two policemen, beating them.

The latter then called for reinforcements and an agent from another patrol used his service weapon to “neutralize the aggressor”, according to the Belga press agency.

” Threats ”

A local resident told several media including AFP that he heard “five or six shots” shortly after the attack.

According to several media, the suspect was wounded by bullets in the legs and abdomen.

He was taken to hospital along with the two injured police officers. The one who didn’t survive had been stabbed in the neck.

According to several Belgian newspapers, the suspect had “made threats against the police” earlier in the day in a police station in another Brussels municipality, without being worried.

Since 2016, the year of the jihadist attacks in Brussels (32 dead on March 22), Belgium has been the scene of several attacks against soldiers and police.

The last attack considered “terrorist” occurred in Liège (East) on May 29, 2018, when Benjamin Herman, a 31-year-old radicalized delinquent shot and killed two police officers and a student while shouting several times “Allah Akbar” (” God is the greatest “). He was then shot dead by law enforcement.

On August 25, 2017, a thirty-year-old man of Somali origin attacked soldiers with a knife (slightly injuring one of them) while shouting “Allah Akbar” in the heart of downtown Brussels. He was also shot.

A year earlier, on August 6, 2016, an Algerian living in Belgium attacked two policewomen with a machete in front of the police station in Charleroi (south) to cries of “Allah Akbar”, injuring them in the face and neck before be shot. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack the following day.



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