The attacker was a Belgian national of Somali origin, authorities say
Authorities call the incident a terror attack; two soldiers are slightly injured
A man who attacked two soldiers in Brussels, Belgium with a knife was shot and killed on Friday evening, the Brussels prosecutor’s spokeswoman told CNN.
The incident is being treated as a terror attack, she said. The soldiers, who were on patrol in the center of the capital, were slightly wounded.
The man rushed towards the soldiers and attacked them from behind with a knife while shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is great), the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Saturday.
One of the soldiers opened fire and hit the attacker twice. He later died in the hospital as a result of his injuries. He was found to be carrying a replica firearm and two copies of the Quran.
The man was a Belgian national of Somali origin who was born in 1987, authorities said, making him 29 or 30 years old. He has not been identified by name.
He was known to police in connection with a case of assault and battery in February 2017 but not for terrorist activities, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.
His home in Bruges was searched by police overnight into Saturday.
Belgium has been on alert to the threat of terror attacks for some time.
In March 2016, coordinated attacks at the Brussels airport and a metro station left 31 people dead and more than 300 injured. Last June, a suspect was fatally shot at Brussels transit station after a failed bombing that authorities called a terrorist attack.
Belgium has been a focus for counterterrorism officials for years because of the large number of Belgians who have traveled to join ISIS and other terror groups in Syria and Iraq – more per capita than any other European Union country.
Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted late Friday: “All support for our military. Our security forces stay on alert. With crisis centre we follow situation closely.”
CNN’s Erin McLaughlin contributed to this report.