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Belgian Authorities Consider Machete Attack 'Attempted Terrorist Murder'

  • RFE/RL

Police stand as they secure the area around a police building in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi following a machete attack on August 6 that left two policewomen wounded.

Police stand as they secure the area around a police building in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi following a machete attack on August 6 that left two policewomen wounded.

Belgian authorities said a man who attacked two policewomen with a machete yelled "God is great" in Arabic, and investigators were considering it an act of terrorism.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said on August 7 that the attacker's shouts of "Allahu akbar" as he attacked the officers factored into the decision to investigate the case as "attempted terrorist murder."

Prosecutors later identified the man as a 33-year-old Algerian who was known to police for criminal acts, but not terrorism. He was shot and killed by police after the attack, which took place in Charleroi, about 50 kilometers south of Brussels.

One of the women suffered deep cuts to her face and was hospitalized. The attack followed a spate of knife and gun attacks across Europe, including some linked to terrorist motives.

The Belga news agency reported that the attacker was shot by a third police officer. Belgian state broadcaster VTM later reported that the attacker died from his gunshot wounds.

The news agency for Islamic State militants later claimed responsibility for the attack, though there was no immediate indication the man had coordinated with the radical group.

Belgium has remained on the highest alert level for terrorist attacks since March 22 when three Islamic State suicide bombers killed 32 other people and injured more than 300 in Brussels.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, Belga, and VTM
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