Belgium: 2 police stabbed in apparent terror attack

Two Belgian policemen were stabbed in what is believed to be a terror-related attack.

A knife-wielding man stabbed two police officers in Brussels on Wednesday in an attack that may be terror-related, Belgian prosecutors said.

It was the latest Islamic attack on law enforcement officials in a nation that has been on high alert since 32 people were murdered last March in suicide bombing attacks on the Brussels airport and subway.

Two police officers in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels were attacked at noon on the street by a man with a knife, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

Another police patrol overpowered the man and shot him in the leg before he was arrested. During that operation, a third police officer was slightly injured.

State-run broadcaster RTBF said the terrorist stabbed one officer in the neck, the other in the abdomen and broke the nose of a third officer who shot him. The wounds were not life-threatening.

The suspect arrested was identified by prosecutors as Hicham D., a 43-year-old Belgian national.

“We have reason to believe that it is terror-related,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told The Associated Press, but declined to explain why.

The suspect’s home in the neighborhood was searched but prosecutors said no weapons or explosives were found.

The daily newspaper Le Soir, quoting sources in the prosecutor’s office, said the suspect was a former member of the Belgian army discharged in 2009, and was already known to law enforcement for having had contacts with people who left to fight with Islamic terror groups in Syria.

At the stabbing scene, a dark green multi-implement eating utensil, similar to those used by soldiers, was marked as evidence on the ground. It was not immediately clear if that was the attack weapon.

An investigating judge specializing in terrorism cases will decide whether Hicham D. should remain in custody, prosecutors said.

In August, a machete-wielding man shouting “Allahu akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great” — attacked and seriously wounded two policewomen in the southern Belgian city of Mons. The terrorist was shot dead. The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, which also claimed the Brussels suicide bombings.

On Sept. 7, a man carrying a knife attacked two police officers in the Molenbeek area of Brussels, but the officers were wearing bulletproof vests and suffered only bruises. The assailant gave no indication of his motives.

By: AP