Brussels attack: Man shot after stabbing soldier

  • Published
Media caption,

Police cordon off the street where troops were attacked

A man has been shot dead after attacking soldiers with a machete in Brussels, in what prosecutors are treating as a terror attack.

The Somali attacker, aged 30, died in hospital. One of the soldiers suffered a hand injury.

Photographs show the street cordoned off with police and troops in the area.

Soldiers have become a familiar sight on the streets of the Belgian capital since terror attacks which killed more than 30 people last year.

The attack took place on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the centre of the city.

Belgium's federal prosecutor's office said the attacker had not been "known for terrorist activities" but had shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) during the assault.

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
The man attacked two soldiers with a large knife in the centre of Brussels
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The area on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain has been cordoned off by police

Witness Ryan MacDonald‏ wrote on Twitter that he had heard the sound of a gunshot before seeing a "heavy police presence outside".

Another witness said he had heard "two loud bangs and a load of sirens".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Earlier reports spoke of two soldiers being injured in Friday's attack but only one was confirmed to have been wounded.

The attacker was born in 1987. He came to Belgium in 2004 and was granted asylum after five years, followed by citizenship in 2015, prosecutors say. He had been living in the city of Bruges.

Not known for any terror-related activities, he was charged with assault and battery in February. No details were given.

A fake firearm and two copies of the Koran were found among his possessions.

The presence of soldiers on the streets of Brussels is part of a large-scale security operation designed to reassure the public in the wake of terrorist attacks in the city in March 2016 in which 32 people were killed.

He was identified as a 36-year-old Moroccan national, named by local media as Oussama Zariouh.