A man wielding a machete and shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) wounded two female police officers in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The attacker was shot by a third officer and he subsequently died of his wounds, police said, adding that the policewomen’s injuries are not life-threatening.
Le décès de l'agresseur à la machette est confirmé. Les deux collègues sont hors de danger. Merci pour le soutien #PoliceCharleroi— Police Charleroi (@PoliceCharleroi) August 6, 2016
One of the police officers was taken to hospital to receive surgery for serious wounds to her face, while her colleague was lightly injured, Belgian media RTBF reported.
Prime Minister Charles Michel took to Twitter to condemn the attack. “My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and the police. We are following the situation closely,” he said. He plans to return from his holiday to meet police on Sunday, according to RTBF.
Je condamne l'attaque à Charleroi avec force. Pensées vont aux victimes, leurs proches et les policiers. Nous suivons la situation de près.— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) August 6, 2016
The attack happened around outside the city’s main police station at around 4 pm local time.
It comes as Belgium is on high alert for attacks from Islamist militants. The country is currently on a security alert level of three out of a maximum of four, which indicates a “possible and probable” threat.
Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the national terrorism-risk analysis agency, Ocam, was assessing the situation. In a tweet, he said: “Despicable act in Charleroi. All my support to the two injured officers, as well as their colleagues and families. An Ocam analysis is under way.”
Islamist bombers killed 32 people in suicide attacks in Brussels in March, and many of the jihadists who carried out attacks on Paris last November in which 130 people died were based in Belgium.