Islamic State (ISIS) has on Sunday claimed responsibility for a machete attack on two Belgian police officers, describing the assailant as a “soldier of the caliphate” in a statement issued via its Amaq news agency.
The attacker, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest – during the assault on the two policewomen outside the main police station in the southern city of Charleroi, was on Saturday shot by police and died of his injuries.
On Sunday afternoon, the Belgian prosecutor said the attacker was of Algerian origin and had a criminal record. He was carrying a rucksack but no explosives or other weapons were found.
“There are indications that the attack may have been inspired by a terrorist motive,” the prosecutors said in a statement. “He is known to police for criminal acts, not for terrorism.”
It was learnt that one officer suffered deep cuts to the face in the attack, while the other received minor injuries, though neither was described as life-threatening.
Belgium is increasing security at police stations after Saturday’s attack in Charleroi, Prime Minister Charles Michel told a press conference on Sunday.
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Islamist bombers killed 32 people in suicide attacks at Brussels airport and a metro station in March. Many of those who carried out attacks in Paris in November, which killed 130 people, were based in Belgium.