Algerian 'behind Belgian machete attack'

Algerian 'behind Belgian machete attack'

The machete-wielding man who attacked two policewomen has been identified by Belgian prosecutors as a 33-year-old Algerian known to police for criminal offences but not for terrorist acts.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office said the man, identified only as K B, had lived in Belgium since 2012.

It also said two police searches had been carried out overnight in the Charleroi area.

The man was shot dead by police on Saturday afternoon after attacking and wounding two policewomen outside the main police station in Charleroi. One suffered deep wounds to her face.

After an emergency meeting of security chiefs, Prime Minister Charles Michel said the attacker's shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) as he slashed at the officers outside the Charleroi police station on Saturday were a notable factor in the authorities' decision in treat the incident as a terror act.

Mr Michel cut short his holiday in the south of France to hurry back to Brussels following the attack in the southern Belgian city.

"We must keep a cool head," Mr Michel said. "We must avoid panic, of course - not give in to terror. That's the trap that has been set for us."

Belgium has been on high alert since the March 22 suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State extremists that killed 32 people in Brussels. Many of the perpetrators of the November 13 carnage in Paris that killed 130 people were also residents of Belgium.

"We know we must be constantly, constantly vigilant," Mr Michel said.

Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput said the government's Crisis Centre would meet to determine if additional measures should be taken to protect police buildings and staff.

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