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Knife attacker shot dead in Brussels, police call it 'terror attack'

By PTI
|

Brussels, August 26: Belgian prosecutors described a knife attack on troops in downtown Brussels as "terror attack" in which the attacker was shot dead by soldiers.

Belgian Army soldiers patrol near Central Station in Brussels after a reported explosion on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Belgian media are reporting that explosion-like noises have been heard at a Brussels train station, prompting the evacuation of a main square. AP/PTI photo

Spokeswoman Esther Natus of the federal prosecutor's office, which handles terrorism investigations, said the man twice shouted "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great," as he ran at the soldiers.

"We do consider it a terror attack," Natus said. She declined to identify the man or confirm whether he was known to police, saying only that "the suspect is dead" and one of the soldiers was slightly wounded. Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said three soldiers came under attack and one had been hospitalised.

Federal Police spokesman Jonathan Pfunde also confirmed some details of the incident and said the attacker had been "neutralized." Belgium's anti-terror crisis center tweeted that the situation was "under control."

"All our support is with our soldiers," Prime Minister Charles Michel said via Twitter. "Our security services remain on alert. We are following the situation closely."

Associated Press television images showed that police sealed off a main street near the Grand Place, a central square that is a popular tourist site. A man who lives near where the incident took place on Boulevard Emile Jacquemain said he saw the attacker lying in the street in the aftermath.

"I live right in front of the station. It was already blocked by police at the scene and there was a man lying on the ground. The police said he had been shot by soldiers," said Thomas da Silva Rosa, a public affairs consultant.

"He was lying on the ground, appeared dead," he told AP.

Since the terror attack in 2016 which left killed 32 people dead, soldiers and extra police have been deployed at public buildings and around large gatherings are on high alert for over a year.

PTI

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