A judicial investigation for attempted murder in a terrorist context has been launched following a knife attack against a policeman in Brussels on Tuesday morning, the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP) of Brussels disclosed on Tuesday. However, the terrorist nature of the attack has not been established with any certainty.
“A policeman from the Brussels Capital-Ixelles precinct was attacked at about 5.30 a.m. in front of the police station of the Rue du Marché au Charbon by an individual wielding two knives,” the precinct’s spokesperson said. “The police officer was wounded in the neck. Two other police officers fired three shots at the perpetrator, who was hit twice in the chest.”
The life of the wounded policeman is not in danger, but his aggressor was seriously wounded. Both were taken to hospital.
“We have not been able to ascertain the motive of the perpetrator”, OPP spokesperson Ine Van Wymersch said. “The man has not yet been questioned but witnesses heard him shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great!). For now, everything appears to indicate that he acted alone and no one else has been held.“
“At this stage of the investigation, we are maintaining as broad a classification of the facts as possible, but they could be reclassified as the investigation continues,” she added.
The suspect is a Belgian national born in 1984 who is not unknown to the justice authorities. In 2014, the Indictment Division had, in fact, decided to remand him into custody for attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Despite a recommendation to the contrary by the OPP, he was, however, released in October by the Social Protection Chamber of the Sentence Enforcement Court.