BRUSSELS (AP) — A lone assailant killed one police officer and injured another Thursday in a stabbing attack that two Belgian judicial officials said was suspected to be terrorism-linked. The suspect was shot and taken to a hospital.
Eric Van der Sypt, from the federal prosecutor’s office, told The Associated Press the suspect was wounded by other police officers after the stabbing.
Van der Sypt added that investigators suspected the attack took place in a “terrorist context.” The prosecutor’s office told the AP it took over the case because there is “a suspicion of a terror attack.”
“One of our patrols was attacked by a man armed with a knife,” police said, quoted by Le Soir newspaper. “The two police officers then called for reinforcements. An officer from another patrol used his firearm to neutralize the attacker.”
“The two injured detectives and the assailant were taken to hospital,” police added.
Le Soir said one of the officers was stabbed in the neck and died from his injuries.
Het Laatste Nieuws daily reported that the suspect had gone to a police station on Thursday morning warning he would kill an officer.
According to Belgian media, the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” during the attack, which occurred around 7:15 p.m. local time.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo posted a message of condolences to the family and friends of the dead officer.
“Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said. “Today’s tragedy demonstrates this once again.”
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said she is in contact with the Brussels mayor, police chief and security services to coordinate the response to the attack. “Such violence against our people is unacceptable,” she said.
Belgium has been hit by several terror attacks in the past decade, including suicide bombings in 2016 that killed 32 people and injured hundreds more in the Brussels subway and airport.