′Islamic State′ claims Brussels machete attack | News | DW | 26.08.2017
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'Islamic State' claims Brussels machete attack

"Islamic State" has claimed responsibility for a knife attack in Brussels on Friday. A man armed with a machete was shot dead after attacking soldiers in the Belgian capital.

The "Islamic State's" (IS) propaganda outlet Amaq said on Saturday that "the perpetrator of the stabbing operation in Brussels is one of the soldiers of the Islamic State, and he carried out the operation in response to appeals to target countries of the [US-led] coalition."

Belgian soldiers had killed the man suspected of attacking the soldiers with a machete on Friday night.

"A man armed with a knife attacked a group of soldiers. The soldiers fired at him and neutralized the individual," said Jonathan Pfunde, a spokesman for Belgium's Federal Police. 

Prosecutors later said the suspected assailant was dead, without saying whether he died at the scene.

Earlier reports suggested the 30-year-old Belgian of Somali origin had survived the shooting but remained in a critical condition after being shot in the face and on the hand. Two of the soldiers received minor injuries from the attack and the third was hospitalized.

Tourism area sealed off

The soldiers were attacked on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the center of the Belgian capital at about 8:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC). 

The street, not far from Brussel's main Grand Place tourist attraction, was sealed off.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted: "All our support is with our soldiers. Our security services remain on alert. We are following the situation closely."

Soldiers have been deployed to the streets of Brussels following last year's multipronged terrorist attack in the city, which hit the airport and a metro station and left 32 dead.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said later on Friday evening: "We believe that it is a terrorist attack." She said the man had shouted "Allahu akbar" twice before launching his assault.

As the attack appeared to be an isolated incident, Brussels Mayor Philip Close said there would be no change to the country's terror alert status, already just one off the maximum level.

About an hour later three police officers were attacked outside Buckingham Palace in London, police said.


ng,bik,tj/jlw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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