Belgian soldiers shoot dead knife attacker in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian soldiers shot dead a man in the center of Brussels on Friday evening after he came at them with a knife shouting Allahu Akbar (God is great), in a case authorities are treating as a terrorist attack.

The man, a 30-year-old Belgian of Somali origin, died after being rushed to hospital. The soldiers were not seriously hurt in the attack; one had a facial wound and the other's hand was wounded.

Prosecutors said the man, who was not known for terrorist activities, had twice shouted Allahu Akbar during the attack, which occurred at around 8:15 p.m. local time (1815 GMT) just outside the city's central pedestrian zone while the soldiers were on patrol.

The case passed from local to federal prosecutors, who typically handle terrorist cases. A spokeswoman for the prosecution service said they were treating the case as one of attempted terrorist murder.

17 PHOTOS
Belgian soldiers shoot dead knife attacker in Brussels
See Gallery
Belgian soldiers shoot dead knife attacker in Brussels

Soldiers and policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen stand on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

This picture taken from the Twitter account of Jaymee Del Rosario, shows emergency staff members and policemen operating near the site where a knifeman was shot dead after attacking two soldiers on August 25, 2017, in Brussels. The knifeman who attacked two soldiers in Brussels on August 25, 2017, was shot dead, federal prosecutors told AFP. 'We believe that it is a terrorist attack,' said a prosecutors' office spokeswoman, who added the attacker 'is dead.'

(JAYMEE DEL ROSARIO/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen stand on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain - Emile Jacqmainlaan in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen and Belgian soldiers react on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

Policemen react on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

Policemen react on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

A policemen stands on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)

Forensics officers investigate the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)

A policeman reacts on the scene after Belgian soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a knife, in Brussels, Belgium August 25, 2017.

(REUTERS/Eric Vidal)
 

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain - Emile Jacqmainlaan in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)

This screengrab shows police officials and a soldier looking at a man on the pavement in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain - Emile Jacqmainlaan in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. A knife-wielding man attacked a soldier in Brussels on August 25, 2017, before being 'neutralized' by troops present at the scene, Belgian authorities said. Belgian media reported that the man, who was rushed to the hospital after the attack, had attacked two soldiers injuring one in the face and the other in the hand.

(AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Brussels mayor Philip Close said the alert status, already just one off the maximum level, had not been increased.

"Initial indications are ... that it is an isolated attack, a single person," Close told reporters beside a street blocked by police.

Soldiers routinely patrol the streets of the Belgian capital due to a heightened security alert level after Islamist shooting and bomb attacks in Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016.

In June, troops shot dead a suspected suicide bomber at Brussels' central train station. There were no other casualties. Authorities treated the incident as an attempted terrorist attack.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Christopher Stern; Editing by Andrew Roche, Toni Reinhold)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.