A stabbing attack in Brussels which led to the death of least one police officer is “suspected to be terror-related,” authorities said on Thursday.
“It is suspected to be terror-related. It has naturally to be confirmed by the inquiry,” the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s spokesperson Eric Van Duyse told CNN.
The incident on Thursday night saw a police patrol attacked by a person with a knife. “Other policemen came as backup and use their guns to shoot the attacker as to control the person,” a spokesperson of the North Brussels police force told CNN by email.
“The injured were brought to the hospital. The first investigative duties are ongoing,” the spokesperson added.
The attacker was shot in the leg, said prosecutor’s spokesperson Eric Van Der Sypt.
The attack took place at around 7:30 p.m. local time at Rue d’Aerschot in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek, according to Van Duyse.
Lawmakers sent their condolences to the family of the slain police officer following news of the attack.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed his condolences, saying his thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased officer.
“Our police officers risk life and limb every day to keep our society safe. Unfortunately, that is once again apparent today,” he said in a tweet.
Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden described the incident as “terrible drama and heartbreaking news.”
“My thoughts are first and foremost with the next of kin, the members of the police zone, and the entire police organization,” she tweeted.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close called it “unbearable drama” in Brussels.
“We stand in solidarity with the police forces. The police protect us and must be protected,” he said.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said she was “shocked” at the murder of the police officer in the line of duty.
“The Belgian Police have worked so closely with (European Parliament) over the years that this feels personal for us. All our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and everyone in Belgium,” she wrote on Twitter.
Belgium has seen several terror attacks in the last decade.
In 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack on soldiers in Brussels. The soldiers were slightly wounded in the incident, but one managed to shoot the attacker, who later died in the hospital.
In June of that year, a suspect was fatally shot at a Brussels transit station after a failed bombing that authorities called a terrorist attack. In March 2016, coordinated attacks at the Brussels airport and a metro station left 31 people dead and more than 300 injured.