The lone attacker who murdered one police officer and injured another in a stabbing incident was on a counterterrorism list of possible extremists, Belgian authorities revealed on Friday.
The suspect, a Belgian who had served six years in jail for common law offenses, had gone to a police station early on Thursday to show his disdain for them but could not be apprehended before he carried out his knife attack on two officers that evening.
Federal prosecution magistrate Eric Van Der Sypt stated, referring to the agency that evaluates the terrorism threats in Belgium, “The man was on the list of OCAD.”
Van der Sypt claimed that during the stabbing attack, which took place close to the typically packed Brussels Nord station soon after rush hour, the suspect shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic expression for “God is wonderful.”
The accused was identified as Yassine M, born in 1990 in Brussels. Between 2013 and 2019, his common-law offenses landed him in jail.
According to Van der Sypt, he was accused of “murder and attempted murder in a terrorist context” on Friday.
Hours before the incident, the suspect conversed with officers and made “unhinged remarks,” according to Brussels prosecutor spokesperson Sarah Durant.
He was sent to a hospital, which he quickly departed, rather than being arrested since he willingly requested psychological assistance.
Following the stabbings, a second police officer who had arrived at the site shot and injured the suspect nearly instantly.
The attacker’s condition wasn’t publicized, but authorities said he remained hospitalized on Friday and couldn’t be questioned.
The risk of an attack was classified as “medium” by Belgian officials, who maintained the overall terrorism threat level at two out of a potential four.