BRUSSELS: The Belgian army shot and killed a 30-year-old man who attacked three soldiers with a knife in the centre of Brussels in a suspected terror incident on Friday night.
The country’s state prosecutor said the man was not known for terrorist activities, but the incident was being treated as an attempted terrorist murder. He approached the soldiers from behind shouting “Allahu akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.” He was carrying a replica firearm and two copies of the Koran.
Two of the soldiers suffered light injuries while a third shot the man who later died in hospital, said the federal prosecutor’s office.
Armed soldiers are commonplace on Brussels streets, railway stations, and public spaces as part of heightened security measures after 32 people were killed in bomb attacks by Islamist terrorists in 2016. In June, a 36-year old Moroccan man was arrested after a failing to detonate a bomb at Brussels Gare Central station.
Authorities said the attacker was a Belgian national of Somali origin who gained his citizenship in 2015 after arriving in the country in 2004. He was not known for any terrorist activity but was convicted of assault and battery in February. Police raided his home in Bruges – in the north-west of Belgium – overnight.