Police shoot man in Brussels after knife attack

Reuters , Monday 17 Sep 2018

Belgian police shot and seriously wounded a man who they said attacked them with a knife after they found him sleeping rough near a centre for asylum seekers in Brussels on Monday.

Prosecutors dismissed any terrorist motive on the part of the man, who a local refugee organisation said was an Egyptian asylum-seeker, and opened investigations into both the knife attack and the police officers' use of a firearm. Shortly after 9 a.m. in an area dominated by government offices, two police officers used a baton and pepper spray on the man when he pulled the knife after they woke him and asked him to move on. When he slashed one in the face, the other officer shot the man in the chest and leg. A third shot missed.

The prosecutors office said the officer was only slightly hurt. The man was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Mehdi Kassou, a spokesman for the Citizens Platform for Refugee Support in Belgium, said the man was aged about 40 and had been sleeping rough in the area for several months.

Belgium has been on high alert for politically motivated violence since Brussels-based Islamic State militants attacked Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016. Prime Minister Charles Michel expressed his support for the injured police officer on Twitter, calling for "respect for our security forces".

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