Brussels stabbing attack kills officer, local police say


A stabbing attack in Brussels that led to the death of at least one police officer is “suspected to be linked to terrorism,” authorities said Thursday.

“It is suspected to be terror-related. That naturally has to be confirmed through an investigation,” Eric van Deus, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor, told CNN.

In this incident which took place on Thursday night, a policeman who was on patrol was attacked with a knife. “Other policemen came as backup and used their guns to shoot the attackers,” a spokesman for the Brussels North police force told CNN by email.

“The injured were taken to hospital. Initial investigations are underway,” the spokesperson added.

The attacker was shot in the leg, prosecutor Eric van der Sypt said.

Van Duyse said the attack took place at 7:30pm local time on Rue d’Aerschot in the Brussels municipality of Cherbeek.

Lawmakers expressed their condolences to the family of the slain police officer following news of the attack.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Groove expressed his condolences, saying his thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased officer.

“Our police officers risk life and death every day to keep our communities safe. Unfortunately, that is evident again today,” he said in a tweet.

Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden described the incident as “terrible drama and heartbreaking news”.

“My thoughts are first and foremost with the next of kin, members of the police constituencies and the entire police system,” he tweeted.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Clos called it an “unbearable drama” in Brussels.

“We stand in solidarity with the police forces. The police are protecting us and should be protected,” he said.

European Parliament President Roberta Metzola said she was shocked to see a police officer killed in the line of duty.

“The Belgian police have worked very closely (with the European Parliament) for many years, which feels personal to us. All our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and everyone in Belgium,” he wrote on Twitter.

Belgium has seen several terrorist attacks in the past decade.

In 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack on soldiers in Brussels. Soldiers were slightly injured in the incident, but one managed to shoot the assailant, who later died in hospital.

In June of that year, authorities called a terrorist attack after a suspect detonated a failed bomb at a Brussels transit station. In March 2016, 31 people were killed and more than 300 injured in coordinated attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station.


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