ISIS claims Brussels knifing; 2 held over London attack

BRUSSELS • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed the knife attack against patrolling soldiers in Brussels, an assault that came just hours before a sword- wielding assailant wounded police outside London's Buckingham Palace.

The knifeman in Brussels, who injured a soldier last Friday in what the authorities said was an "attempted terrorist murder", was shot dead, while London police overpowered a man who injured three unarmed officers outside the palace with a 1.2m-long blade.

The 26-year-old man in the London violence has been arrested under the Terrorism Act, which allows for 14 days of pre-charge detention, and is being held at a police station in the British capital.

British police said a second man, 30, was arrested yesterday at an address in West London in connection with the attack.

The two attacks come as much of Europe is on high alert after a string of deadly assaults over the past two years - most of which have been claimed by extremists.

On Aug 17, Spain was hit by twin vehicle attacks which left 16 dead, and two people were killed the next day in a stabbing spree in Finland.

Belgian prosecutors said the attacker yelled "Allahu akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) during the assault before being shot by a soldier in the centre of city, which has been on high alert since last year's carnage at the airport and on the metro.

"The perpetrator of the stabbing operation in Brussels is one of the soldiers of the Islamic State," said the organisation's propaganda outlet Amaq.

One of the soldiers was slightly hurt in the attack, which Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said had been carried out by a "lone individual".

Overnight, the police raided the suspect's home in Bruges, north- west Belgium.

During the attack near the Grand Place in central Brussels, the man rushed at several soldiers from behind and struck them with a knife, prompting one of them to open fire.

"The man was hit and died shortly afterwards in hospital from his wounds," the prosecutors' statement said. The assailant was a Belgian national of Somali origin who was born in 1987, the authorities confirmed. He arrived in the country in 2004 and was granted Belgian nationality in 2015.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'ISIS claims Brussels knifing; 2 held over London attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe