Belgian prosecutor: 2 police stabbed, may be terror-related

Parts of a knife lay on the ground behind a police cordon as police investigate the scene where a man stabbed two police officers, in the Schaerbeek neighborhood in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. The man stabbed one officer in the neck and the other in the abdomen and then fled the scene in an incident that Belgian prosecutors say could be terror-related. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BRUSSELS (AP) — A knife-wielding man stabbed two police officers in Brussels Wednesday in an incident that may be terror-related, Belgian prosecutors said.

It was the latest attack on law enforcement officials in a nation that has been on high alert since 32 people were killed in suicide bombing attacks in the Brussels airport and subway on March 22.

A statement from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said the incident happened at noon. Two police officers in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels were attacked on the street by a man with a knife. Another police patrol overpowered the man, who was shot in the leg before he was arrested.

During that operation, a third police officer was slightly injured, it said.

The statement did not give additional details, but state-run broadcaster RTBF said the assailant stabbed one officer in the neck and the other in the abdomen. He broke the nose of a third officer, who was the one who shot him, RTBF said.

The suspect arrested was identified by prosecutors as Hicham D., a 43-year-old Belgian national. Federal Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told The Associated Press “we have reason to believe that it is terror-related,” but declined to explain why prosecutors think there may be a link.

An investigating judge specializing in terrorism cases will decide whether Hicham D. should remain in custody, prosecutors said. They said the wounds received by the police officers and suspect were not life-threatening.

In August, a machete-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is Great!” — attacked and seriously wounded two policewomen in the southern Belgian city of Mons. The assailant was shot dead. The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State extremist group, which also claimed the Brussels suicide bombings.

On Sept. 7, a man carrying a knife attacked two police officers in the Molenbeek area of Brussels, but the officers were wearing bulletproof vests and suffered only bruises, prosecutors said. The assailant said nothing during that attack and gave no indication of his motives.

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