BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) – The lone gunman who killed a police officer and injured another in a knife attack in Belgium was on an anti-terrorism list of potential extremists, officials said Friday.
The Belgian suspect, who has spent six years in prison for common crimes, went to a police station on Thursday morning to express his hatred of the police, but they could not arrest him before two police officers were stabbed.
“The man was on the OCAD list,” Federal Prosecution Magistrate Eric van der Sept said, referring to an organization that assesses terrorist threats in Belgium.
Van der Sept said the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar”, which means “God is great” in Arabic, during the attack, which occurred just after the evening rush hour in the area around the usually busy Brussels Nord station.
The suspect was identified as Yasin M, born in Brussels in 1990. The common law offenses he had committed were behind bars between 2013 and 2019.
Van der Sept said Friday he faced charges of “murder and attempt to murder in a terrorist context”.
Brussels prosecutor’s spokeswoman Sarah Durant said the suspect made “deranged remarks” during an argument with police hours before the attack. Since he voluntarily sought psychological help, he was not arrested, but sent to a hospital, from where he was released shortly afterwards.
After being stabbed, another police officer responding to the scene almost immediately shot and wounded the suspect. The attacker’s condition was not released, but officials said he was hospitalized on Friday and could not be interrogated.