…Investigated As Terrorist Incident
A man who attacked two soldiers with a knife in Brussels has been shot dead by the army. Authorities said they were treating the attack as a terrorist incident.
“Incident in Brussels. Soldiers have neutralised an individual. Situation under control,” Belgium’s official crisis centre wrote on twitter.
Local media reported that the attacker was dead, while the two soldiers he attacked were injured. One was said to be lightly injured in the hand; the other may have more serious wounds.
The attack began at about 8.20pm in the centre of Brussels, not far from the bars and restaurants of the popular Sainte Catherine neighbourhood that is always busy on Friday evenings.
The attacker was a man in his thirties, according to state TV channel RTBF, which reported that he cried “Allahu Akbar” at the moment he launched his attack.
A spokesman for the federal prosecutor said it was a terrorist act but the man had been identified as “a 30-year-old man who is not known for terrorist activities”.
After the attack was stopped, he was taken to hospital, where he is said to have died. Authorities are treating this as an isolated incident and have not changed Belgium’s terror threat level, which is currently at level three, the second highest level, which indicates “a serious and real” threat, but not an imminent attack.
Two months ago, authorities foiled a suspected terror attack on Brussels central station, where a man was shot, after causing a small explosion. In March 2016, 32 people were murdered and more than 300 injured in coordinated jihadi attacks at Brussels airport and on the metro.
With European cities on high alert, soldiers in army fatigues with rifles are a visible presence in Brussels, where they patrol the streets, especially around metro stations and embassies.
The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, expressed his support for the country’s soldiers on Friday night. “Our security services remain vigilant. We are following the situation closely with the Belgian crisis centre,” he said.
Police cordoned off the street, Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, and video footage taken two hours after the attack showed police officers patrolling an otherwise deserted area.