The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an assault by a machete-wielding man against two police officers in the Belgian city of Charleroi.
Quoting an unidentified source, the Amaq news agency, which is affiliated to Daesh, said on Sunday that the assailant was a “soldier” of the Takfiri group.
According to the Daesh-linked news agency, the attack came “in response to calls to target citizens” belonging to countries participating in a US-led coalition which is striking purported Daesh positions in Syria and Iraq.
Belgian prosecutors confirmed that the attacker was an Algerian national known to the police for criminal offences but not terrorism.
The federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the 33-year-old, identified by the initials as K.B., had been living in Belgium since 2012.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told a news briefing that the police had opened a terrorism investigation into the incident, adding, “We have been informed by federal prosecutors that an investigation has started for attempted terrorist murder… given certain elements (in the case).”
Local media reports said Saturday that the man attacked the two officers near the central police station in the city. The assault was carried out at about 4:00 p.m. local time.
A third officer shot and injured the attacker on the site. He later died of his wounds.
Belgium has been on alert since March 22, when extremists attacks hit Brussels airport and a subway station, killing over 30 people. Daesh claimed the deadly assaults.
Officials said at the time that the attacks were carried out by the same terrorist cell which launched attacks in the French capital on November 13, 2015. The shootings and explosions in Paris left 130 people dead.
Belgium, home to the main institutions of the European Union and the NATO headquarters, has been viewed as the prime source of recruitment for Daesh in Europe.