Brussels, Aug 26 : A knife-wielding man was shot dead on Friday after wounding a soldier in the centre of Brussels, in what Belgian authorities called a “terrorist attack”.
The man, who prosecutors said yelled “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) during the assault, was shot by soldiers on a street in the city which has been on high alert since terrorist attacks on its metro and airport last year.
“We believe that it is a terrorist attack,” said a prosecutors’ office spokeswoman, who added the attacker “is dead.”
Belgian media reported that the assailant was of Somali origin and about 30 years old.
The same evening, in London two police officers were slightly injured arresting a man with a large knife outside Buckingham Palace but there were no immediate indications of a terror link.
The incidents come after attacks claimed by the Islamic State group in Spain last week killed 15 people and a knifeman’s stabbing spree in Finland left two dead and eight wounded.
One of the two soldiers targeted in Brussels was “slightly” wounded, according to federal prosecutors, who have opened a terror probe of the attack.
“All our support for our military,” tweeted Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. “Our security services remain attentive, we are monitoring the situation closely with the Crisis Center,” he added.
City mayor Philippe Close told reporters the incident was the work of a “lone individual”.
“I heard yelling and straight away two shots,” a witness named Yohan told AFP, who did not wish to give his surname.
As he approached, he said he saw “a soldier bleeding from his hand and a man on the ground,” who had a beard and was wearing a hood.
The attack took place shortly after 8:00 pm (18:00 GMT) on a boulevard in the centre of Brussels, near the Grand Place central square, one of the “sensitive” areas of the capital where armed soldiers patrol because of the terrorist threat in Belgium.