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ISIS Says Belgium Machete Attack Was by an ISIS ‘Soldier’

The news agency for ISIS has claimed that the man who attacked two police officers outside a Belgium police station was an ISIS "soldier."

Amaq News Agency, which functions as part of the group's media apparatus, wrote in an Arabic message posted on its Telegram channel today that the attack was carried out by "one of the soldiers of the Islamic State," and similar to prior incidents in France and Germany, it came in "response to calls to target citizens of states in the Crusader coalition"

Belgium's interior minister, Jan Jambon, has called the attack, which occurred in Charleroi, a city south of Brussels, an "act of barbarism." The assailant was shot by police and and confirmed dead. His identity has not been released to the public.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Saturday that "preliminary indications" suggest the attack was an act of terrorism, but that authorities are still collecting information. The independent OCAM agency that assesses risks to Belgium's internal security was consulted and decided to keep the current threat level unchanged.

In light of the attack, Michel is meeting Sunday with the chiefs of the federal police and other security agencies. He cut short his vacation in the southern France to return to Belgium.

One of the officers was hit in the face with the machete blade and must undergo surgery for non-life threatening injuries. The other officer's injuries were minor, according to a Charleroi Police Department spokesman.

"Two policewomen officers injured by machete in front of police office by someone shouting 'Allah Akhkbar.' Individual was shot but is alive," read an initial tweet posted in French by Charleroi police. The Arabic phrase "Allah Akhkbar" means "God is greater."

Charleroi police spokesman David Quinaux told the Associated Press that the attacker carried the machete in a sports bag and pulled it out as he arrived at a security checkpoint outside the city's police headquarters in mid-afternoon.

The prime minister tweeted, "Thoughts go with the victims, their relatives and police officers. We are closely monitoring the situation."

Belgian officials said the local prosecutor in Charleroi and federal police are investigating the incident.

ABC News’ Louise Dewast, Paul Pradier and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.


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