Knifeman attacks Brussels police

A police officer stands guard in Brussels, July 21, 2016.
A police officer stands guard in Brussels, July 21, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) – A Moroccan man wielding a knife attacked two Belgian police officers in the capital Brussels on Wednesday (Sept 7) but their body armour protected them and they were not seriously hurt, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said other officers arrested the 24-year-old man just after the attack in the Molenbeek district where several men linked to last year’s Islamic State-claimed attacks in Paris lived.

The Brussels prosecutor’s spokesman Ine Van Wymersch told AFP that the man had been staying illegally in Belgium and ordered several times to leave the country.

But he added that the assailant had said nothing during the incident that could suggest a terrorist motive, adding he has in the past been linked to thefts and shoplifting but not terrorism.

He said the man attacked the police officers when they approached him in response to an appeal from a woman who had reported man with a knife in Bonnevie park.

“One of the officers received seven knife blows and the other received one, but they were protected by their bullet-proof vest and were not wounded,” Van Wymersch said.

However, RTL television showed one of the officers, a woman, covered with a small bandage over her right arm.

In August, a Belgian policewoman shot and killed a machete-wielding Algerian man who wounded two female colleagues in the city of Charleroi, south of Brussels.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for that attack by a man officials said had been living illegally in Belgium.

Belgium has remained on high alert following deadly jihadist bombings in March that killed 32 people at Brussels airport and on the city metro which were also claimed by IS.IS