Belgian police kill machete-wielding man who attacked two officers

Two female police officers in the Belgian city of Charleroi were injured Saturday by a man wielding a machete who called out "Allahu Akbar," or "God is greatest," in Arabic, city police said.

The attacker is dead, the police wrote on Twitter. He was shot by a third officer and later died in hospital, a police spokesman said in a video posted online by Le Soir daily.

The incident, which took place outside the Charleroi police headquarters, follows a series of knife and gun attacks carried out across Europe in recent weeks, some of which are being linked to terrorist motives.

In Belgium, more than 30 people died in coordinated suicide bombing attacks in March.

"This seems to be another attack with a terrorist connotation," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told the RTL broadcaster, calling for prudence at this early stage of the investigation. The perpetrator has not yet been identified, he said.

The two wounded officers did not sustain life-threatening injuries, the police wrote on Twitter. One of them suffered deep cuts around the face and was taken to hospital, while her colleague was only slightly injured, the police spokesman said.

The officers were at a checkpoint outside the police headquarters when the man arrived at around 4 pm (1400 GMT), the spokesman said. The assailant pulled a machete out of his bag and started delivering violent blows to the officers' faces before being shot by a third officer on scene.

A large security perimeter was later set up around the site of the attack in the city 50 kilometres south of Brussels, Belga wrote. Prosecutors and forensics experts were on site.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon condemned the "vile act" on Twitter and expressed his support for the police officers, their families and colleagues.

The Belgian threat analysis unit, OCAM, has decided not to change the security alert level at present, Jambon wrote. The country is at level 3 - the second highest - indicating a serious and likely risk of attack.

Michel is returning to Belgium to meet with security services on Sunday, sources from his office told Belga.

One of the suicide bombers in the March 22 attacks, Khalid El Bakraoui, was suspected of having rented an apartment in Charleroi under a false name, to serve as a hideout for the terrorist group behind deadly attacks in Paris last November.

Last update: Sat, 06/08/2016 - 21:58

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