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Stabbing suspect had earlier threatened Belgian police

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BRUSSELS — Belgian authorities mentioned early Friday {that a} lone assailant who killed one police officer and wounded one other in a stabbing that was being investigated as a potential terrorism-linked assault had gone to a police station earlier to precise hatred for them.

Brussels prosecutor spokeswoman Sarah Durant mentioned the suspect had made “unhinged remarks” throughout a dialogue with officers hours earlier than the assault. Since he voluntarily requested for psychological assist, he was not arrested and was as an alternative despatched to a hospital, which he left quickly after.

After the stabbings, the suspect was nearly instantly shot by one other police official who had rushed to the scene. Wounded, he was taken to a hospital.

Eric Van der Sypt of the federal prosecutor’s workplace mentioned that investigators have been wanting into whether or not the assault happened in a “terrorist context.” The federal prosecutor’s workplace advised The Related Press it took over the case as a result of there may be “a suspicion of a terror attack.”

In line with Belgian media, the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” in the course of the assault, which occurred round 7:15 p.m on Thursday.

Belgian authorities stored the general terrorist risk degree at 2 out of a potential 4, that means the danger of an assault was “medium.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo posted a message of condolences to the household and associates of the lifeless officer.

“Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he mentioned. “Today’s tragedy demonstrates this once again.”

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Inside Minister Annelies Verlinden mentioned she was involved with the Brussels mayor, police chief and safety companies to coordinate the response to the assault. “Such violence against our people is unacceptable,” she mentioned.

Authorities got here below speedy criticism for not arresting the suspect when he made his preliminary threats to the police early Thursday, however Durant mentioned procedures stipulate that he needed to be taken by police to a hospital since he had requested for psychological assist himself.

“Police remained there until hospital staff took over,” she mentioned. Just a few hours later, when police checked on his whereabouts, “it appears that the person had left the hospital.”

The assault touched a nerve in a nation that has been hit by a number of terror assaults prior to now decade, together with suicide bombings in 2016 that killed 32 folks and injured tons of extra within the Brussels subway and airport.

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