December 1, 2020

Two Brussels Police officers stabbed in terrorist attack

A former Belgian soldier stabbed two police officers in an attack authorities are treating as terrorism, Belgian officials said Wednesday.

A 43-year-old Belgian man, who authorities identified only as Hicham D., attacked the two officers in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels, said Eric Van Der Sypt, the Belgian prosecutor’s spokesman.

The suspect was overpowered by another police patrol shortly after the attack. Officers shot him in the leg to subdue him. While apprehending the suspect, a third officer was slightly injured.

“We are considering this as a terrorist attack now, yes,” Mr. Van Der Sypt said. He didn’t elaborate on why officials considered the attack an act of terror.

Belgian federal prosecutors later said that they conducted a search at a house in Schaerbeek where the suspect was living. No weapons or explosives were found.

Belgian officials said the suspect was discharged from the Belgian army in 2009.

The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he was being treated Wednesday. Neither the officers nor the suspect incurred life-threatening injuries, Mr. Van Der Sypt said.

The suspect remains in the hospital and it isn’t clear when he will appear before a judge specializing in terrorism, officials said.

Officials said Belgian police are investigating whether the man had any contacts with suspected terrorists or foreign fighters in Syria.

Since the March terror attacks that killed 32 people, Belgian authorities have broken up several terror cells that officials said were plotting further attacks. There have also been several knife attacks, some of which officials have said were terror related and others they have attributed to mentally unstable individuals.

In August, Belgian authorities opened a terrorism probe after a machete attack on two police officers in the city of Charleroi. That assailant, a 33-year-old Algerian man who had been living in Belgium illegally, was killed by police.

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