BRUSSELS, Belgium – Two female police officers were injured after a machete-wielding man, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” attacked them near the police station in the Belgian city of Charleroi, the authorities said.
The perpetrator then was shot by a third officer on site, the RTL radio station reports, citing local police.
The attacker was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but later died of his injuries, RTBF reported
Witnesses said they heard gunshots near the Charleroi police station at around 16:00 local time on Saturday.
The injuries received by one of the officers are described as “serious,” RTBF reports. The woman is claimed to have suffered deep wounds to her face.
The police have established a security perimeter around the site of the attack.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told an RTL broadcaster via phone that what happened in Charleroi was likely a terrorist attack.
“Initial indications very clearly point towards terrorism,” Michel said.
Belgian Interior minister, Jan Jambon, has confirmed the attack on Twitter, describing the events at Charleroi as “despicable.”
Attacks with machetes, knives and axes against police and civilians have recently become more frequent in Europe, with similar incidents reported in France and Germany.
Europe should expect more “lone wolf” terror attacks like this in the short term, Willy Van Damme, a Belgian journalist, warned.
“These arracks encourage others,” Van Damme said. “They are an example for others with similar ideas and state of mind, the followers of Salafism whether they’re called Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or whatever. There are so many names for Salafist groups.”
“You see Rouvary, Nice, the stabbings in Germany. It’s a pattern. One can be certain that maybe tomorrow or next week or the week after, but this month again we’ll see in Europe another attack,” he said.
Thirty-two people died in Brussels in March when suicide bombers blew themselves up at the city’s airport and a metro station in the city.
Many of the jihadists responsible for the Paris attack in November 2015, in which 130 people died, were also residing in Belgium.