Belgium: Machete-wielding attacker harms two policewomen, so-called Islamic State claims responsibility
A man wielding a machete injured two policewomen on Saturday in the Belgium town of Charleroi. Another member of the police force shot the attacker at the scene and the man later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
The public prosecutor says the assailant was an Algerian citizen who was known to have criminal record, but not one of terrorism. In the aftermath, the radical so-called Islamic State group claimed responsibility and Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel said it was a terrorist act.
One of the policewomen suffered serious facial injuries during the attack while the other was only slightly injured. The perpetrator committed his attack on Saturday, just before 4 PM, at a checkpoint in front of the building of the main police station in the center of the town, which lies about 50 kilometers south of Brussels.
The attacker is alleged to have approached the policewomen, pulled a machete from a bag, and immediate begun to strike with it. The public prosecutor announced that the assailant was a 33-year-old citizen of Algeria whose initials were K.B.
The man is said to have shouted "Allahu akbar!" ("God is great!") during the incident and has a criminal record, but police knew nothing of his terrorist ties. The public prosecutor has admitted the crime may have been motivated by terrorism.
K.B. is said to have lived in Belgium since 2012. Reuters reported that a spokesperson for the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack from Cairo, Egypt.
In Belgium there are currently heightened security measures in place as a consequence of the March terrorist attack at Zaventem airport in Brussels and the Maalbeek metro station. A total of 32 people perished in those attacks.
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