ISIS has claimed responsibility for a machete attack on a group of soldiers in Brussels last night.
The terror group claimed a 30-year-old man who was shot dead at the scene of the attack, which left a soldier injured, was acting on its behalf.
Authorities have described it as an ‘attempted terrorist murder’.
Police and a soldier are seen watching over the man who attacked troops in Brussels
A statement by ISIS propaganda outlet Amaq claimed: ‘The perpetrator of the stabbing operation in Brussels is one of the soldiers of the Islamic State, and he carried out the operation in response to appeals to target countries of the (US-led) coalition’.
The statement, which did not name the man – who security services said was from Somalia – cited a ‘security source’.
Witnesses said the attacker was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, which means ‘God is great’.
Emergency services are believed to have attempted to resuscitate the attacker but he died at the scene in Brussels
Police have secured downtown Brussels after the man – a 30-year-old Somalian – was shot by soldiers
The scene on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain was yesterday flooded with police and cordons are in place, according to pictures from the scene.
The man rushed at several soldiers from behind and struck them with a knife, prompting one of them to open fire.
‘The man was hit and died shortly afterwards in hospital from his wounds,’ the prosecutors’ statement said. As well as the knife, police found a replica gun and two copies of the Koran on him.
Although not known for any terror-related activities, he had an assault and battery charge on his record from February, the statement said.
It happened just metres from a street where ISIS jihadis had called for vehicle attacks and police arrested a suspected bomber in a shopping mall.
‘There was an attack against a soldier in Brussels,’ federal police told AFP. ‘Soldiers at the scene responded.’
A chilling post on the Telegram app called for terror fanatics to mow down pedestrians on nearby Rue Neuve – which is considered to be the second most popular shopping street in the city.
Just days ago jihadis called for attacks on a street only yards away. Pictured: The scene in Brussels after the attack
Police officers, including one armed with a rifle, stand guard at the scene. Belgium’s anti-crisis centre said soldiers ‘neutralised’ the man and the situation is ‘under control’
Police simply said ‘soldiers at the scene responded’ after the attack
On the same street a man wearing a fake suicide belt triggered a bomb alert last year after acting suspiciously near the City 2 Shopping Centre.
A Brussels police spokesman said at the time: ‘The man was arrested, but it turned out that his suicide belt was fake. It contained salt and biscuits.’
The attack came a year after 35 people were killed and 340 injured when ISIS terrorists blew up Brussels Airport and a train station in the city.
In June a man with possible ISIS sympathies was shot dead before he could detonate a suitcase bomb in the city’s Central train station.
The latest attack was also just a week after jihadists ploughed through crowds on a popular street in Barcelona, killing 13 and injuring 130 last Thursday.
Police and soldiers can still be seen in the area
The country’s prime minister Charles Michel tweeted: ‘All our support is with our soldiers. Our security services remain on alert. We are following the situation closely.’ Pictured: The scene in Brussels
Tonight’s incident happened just metres from a street where ISIS jihadis had called for vehicle attacks in a chilling post on the Telegram app, pictured
A spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecution service said: ‘With the identity that we currently have it is a 30-year-old man who is not known for terrorist activities’
After witnessing today’s atrocity, Ryan MacDonald wrote on Twitter: ‘Sound of gunshot, heavy police presence outside on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, Brussels.’
Another said: ‘Heard two bangs and loads of sirens in Brussels, anyone know what’s happening?’
A spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecution service said: ‘With the identity that we currently have it is a 30-year-old man who is not known for terrorist activities.’
The country’s prime minister Charles Michel also tweeted: ‘All our support is with our soldiers. Our security services remain on alert. We are following the situation closely.’