Belgian PM calls machete attack on cops a likely act of terrorism
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said Saturday that "preliminary indications" suggest an attack by a machete-wielding man on two police officers in Charleroi was an act of terrorism.
The attacker was shot and killed by police after striking two female offices with the large knife while shouting "Allahu Akhbar (God is great)," according to police spokesman David Quinaux, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF reported.
One officer received deep cuts to the face, but both were out of danger, Charleroi police said on Twitter.
The assailant, who apparently acted alone, spoke to officers at a police security checkpoint then pulled his weapon out of a gym bag and struck the first officer in the face before turning to strike her colleague, Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported. He was shot by a third officer.
The prime minister, who cut short his vacation in the south of France to return to Belgium, told RTL television that the identity of the assailant wasn't clear but that "preliminary indications" suggest the attack was a terrorist act. He called a meeting of his National Security Council for Sunday.
Paul Magnette, mayor of Charleroi, which is located about 35 miles south of Brussels, said the police checkpoint prevented the attacker from reaching the main building and causing more havoc. The mayor said Belgian authorities are discussing whether security for police facilities and officers should be beefed up further, the Associated Press reported.
Belgium remains on high alert in the wake of attacks in March in Brussels that killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and at a metro station.