Isis claims responsibility for machete attack on Belgian police officers

Isis media arm, citing ‘security source’ says assailant acted in response to calls to carry out terror attacks in Europe

Adam Withnall
Sunday 07 August 2016 14:17 BST
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Police officers check identification of a man near the police headquarters in Charleroi
Police officers check identification of a man near the police headquarters in Charleroi (AP)

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Isis has claimed responsiblity 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 has not been named by the Belgian authorities, was shot dead as he attacked two policewomen outside the main police station in the southern city of Charleroi.

The Isis media arm, citing a “security source”, said the man acted in response to calls to carry out terror attacks in Europe. On Sunday afternoon, the Belgian prosecutor said the attacker was of Algerian origin and had a criminal record.

One officer suffered deep cuts to the face in the attack, while the other received minor injuries, though neither was described as life-threatening. The assailant was shot dead by a third officer who was stood nearby.

After a meeting of the National Security Council earlier, the Belgian prime minister Charles Michel said the attack was being investigated as a terrorist incident.

Mr Michel cut short a holiday to southern France to return to Belgium after the incident on Saturday, during which the assailant was reported to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

In the aftermath of the attack, Mr Michel told broadcaster RTL by phone: “Initial indications very clearly point towards terrorism.”

Mr Michel's spokesman, Barend Leyts, said the independent OCAM agency, which assesses risks to Belgium's internal security, was consulted and decided to keep the current threat level unchanged.

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