Nearly 250 miles away from a similar incident in London near Buckingham Palace, Belgian soldiers in downtown Brussels have shot and killed an unidentified man who attacked them with a knife. According to the Associated Press, Belgian Federal Police spokesman Jonathan Pfunde said that “a man armed with a knife attacked a group of soldiers” and was subsequently “neutralized” by his would-be victims. He and others affiliated with the country’s anti-terror crisis center initially refused to confirm whether or not the suspect had been killed, but a subsequent report citing the federal prosecutor’s office acknowledged the attacker was dead.
Spokeswoman Esther Natus told reporters “the suspect is dead,” adding that one soldier had been “slightly injured” by the initial attack, but was otherwise doing fine. Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel took to Twitter to offer his official response to the incident. “All our support is with our soldiers,” he tweeted. “Our security services remain on alert. We are following the situation closely.”
As the Associated Press notes, Belgium — and Brussels in particular — have remained on high alert ever since the city was hit by a coordinated, multi-site terrorist attack on March 22nd, 2016 that killed 36 people and injured dozens more. The search for the surviving suspects, as well as the stabbing of two Belgian police officers in October and a failed bombing at a train station in June 2017, has encouraged the government to retain a strong military presence in vulnerable locations. Hence why the solders who were attacked Friday night were in downtown Brussels in the first place.
(Via Associated Press)