A stabbing attack in Brussels that killed at least one police officer is “suspected to be terrorist-related,” authorities said Thursday.
“It is suspected to be related to terrorism. This naturally has to be confirmed by an investigation,” Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutor, told CNN.
In the incident that happened on Thursday night, a man with a knife attacked the patrol police. A spokesperson for the Brussels North police force told CNN in an email: “Other police officers came as backup and shot the assailant to control the gunman.
“The injured were taken to the hospital. The first investigation is underway,” added the press secretary.
Prosecutor’s spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt said the assailant was shot in the leg.
According to Van Duyse, the attack took place at Rue d’Aerschot in Brussels’ Charbec municipality around 19:30 local time.
Members of the public expressed their condolences to the family of the police officer who died after the news of the attack.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre De Croix expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the deceased officer.
“Our police officers risk life and limb every day to keep our community safe. “Unfortunately, this has come to light again today,” he tweeted.
Belgian Interior Minister Anneliese Verlinden described the incident as “a terrible drama and heartbreaking news”.
“My thoughts go out to my loved ones, the members of the police force and the entire police organization,” he tweeted.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Clouse called it an “unbearable drama” in Brussels.
“We stand in solidarity with the police force. “The police protect us and should protect us,” he said.
European Parliament President Roberta Metzola said she was “shocked” by the killing of a police officer in the line of duty.
“The Belgian police have worked so closely with (the European Parliament) for so many years that it feels personal to us. All our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and everyone in Belgium,” he wrote on Twitter.
Belgium has experienced several terrorist attacks in the past decade.
In 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack on soldiers in Brussels. The soldiers were slightly injured in the incident, but one of them managed to shoot the assailant, who later died in the hospital.
In June of that year, a suspect was shot and killed after an explosion at a transit station in Brussels that authorities called a terrorist attack. In March 2016, 31 people were killed and more than 300 injured in coordinated attacks at the Brussels airport and metro station.