Belgian stabbing suspect had earlier threatened police

© Hatim Kaghat, AFP

Belgian authorities said early Friday that a lone assailant who killed one police officer and wounded another in a stabbing that was being investigated as a possible terrorism-linked attack had gone to a police station earlier to express hatred for them.

Brussels prosecutor spokeswoman Sarah Durant said the suspect had made “unhinged remarks” during a discussion with officers hours before the attack. Since he voluntarily asked for psychological help, he was not arrested and was instead sent to a hospital, which he left soon after.

After the stabbings, the suspect was almost immediately shot by another police official who had rushed to the scene. Wounded, he was taken to a hospital.

Eric Van der Sypt of the federal prosecutor's office said that investigators were looking into whether the attack took place in a “terrorist context.” The federal prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press it took over the case because there is “a suspicion of a terror attack.”

According to Belgian media, the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” during the attack, which occurred around 7:15 pm on Thursday.

Belgian authorities kept the overall terrorist threat level at 2 out of a possible 4, meaning the risk of an attack was “medium.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo posted a message of condolences to the family and friends of the dead officer.

“Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said. “Today’s tragedy demonstrates this once again.”


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