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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Prosecutors rule out terrorism as motive for Brussels knife attack

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A knife-wielding man who wounded three people at a major underground railway station in the Belgian capital Brussels has been charged with attempted murder in an attack that wasn’t considered to be terrorism, prosecutors said.

Social media posts on Monday evening showed video of police with their guns pointed at a man at Schuman station, while images pictured another man wrapped in a foil blanket as he was attended to by paramedics. One victim’s wounds were said to be “life-threatening”.

The station is directly under the headquarters of the European Union’s two main institutions.

Brussels prosecutors said the 30-year-old suspect, who wasn’t identified, had been charged with attempted murder and carrying a makeshift weapon. He is also expected to undergo a psychological evaluation soon.

“The suspect’s motive is not yet known, but at this stage nothing indicates that it was an extremist/terrorist motive,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. It said the man, whose name wasn’t provided, was not previously known to police.

Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors said the three victims had been discharged from hospital, but in an update they later said that a 25-year-old man was still receiving treatment. A 47-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man were only slightly wounded and have gone home.

Fears of attacks in Belgium remain high in the public mind, seven years after twin suicide bombings at an underground metro station near the site of Monday’s stabbings, and at the main Brussels airport killed 32 people and wounded hundreds.

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