- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Brussels police officer killed, another injured in suspect terror knife attack
One police officer was killed and another seriously injured in a knife attack in Rue d'Aerschot in Schaerbeek on Thursday evening, report local media.
The suspect, Yassine M, a 32-year-old Belgian national living in Evere, was known to Belgian security agency CUTA (Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis). He had been taken to a psychiatric wing at Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels hours before the attack, prosecutors told a press conference on Friday.
Spokesman for the prosecutors’ office, Eric Van Duyse, said: "A man armed with a knife attacked a police vehicle stopped at a red light. With this knife, the individual struck a blow to the driver's throat. He then moved quickly to the passenger side and also stabbed him with a knife. This policeman was able to call for help via his radio, stating that their attacker had shouted 'Allah Akbar'."
The 29-year old driver died of his wounds in hospital while the 23-year old passenger was in stable condition following surgery, said Van Duyse.
The suspect was shot and wounded by a second patrol as he fled the scene. Earlier that day, he went to a police station in Evere; he spoke of his hate of the police and asked for psychological help.
Suspect did not meet legal criteria for detention
Police contacted the duty magistrate of the Brussels public prosecutor's office requesting the procedure for psychiatric observation, added the spokesman. "After verification, it appeared that the person did not meet the legal criteria, given the fact that he was willing to seek psychological treatment voluntarily."
He was taken by police to the psychiatric unit at Saint-Luc hospital in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. When police later contacted the hospital, they found out that he had left.
According to the prosecutors’ office, the suspect was in prison from 2013 to 2019 and was known to be radicalised. He was categorised by CUTA as a “potential violent extremist”.
Prime minister Alexander De Croo said on Twitter: "Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens. Today's drama demonstrates this once again."
Photo: Belga/Hatim Kaghat