The Algerian man who attacked two Belgian police officers with a machete Saturday was in the country illegally, officials say.
The 33-year-old perpetrator stabbed two female officer in the city of Charleroi before getting shot to death by police. The man shouted “Allahu Akbar” before the attack, and Islamic State claimed responsibility Sunday. (RELATED: Refugee Stabs Belgian Priest After He Refuses To Give Money)
“There are indications that the attack may have been inspired by a terrorist motive,” the prosecutors said in a statement. “He is known to police for criminal acts, not for terrorism.”
Theo Francken, the Belgian secretary of state for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification, revealed the man had been in Belgium since 2012 and has been deported twice. Illegal immigrants who commit crimes are prioritized among deportees, but his home country of Algeria has refused to help with the process.
“The government has already taken serious measures to accelerate the return of these criminals,” Francken said Sunday. “We must continue.”
Belgian newspaper Le Soir further reports that “a lack of space” kept the man from getting locked up in a detention center for the crimes he committed. (RELATED: Refugee Stabs Belgian Priest After He Refuses To Give Money)
Both officer were “severely injured in the face and neck” and have been placed in artificial comas to allow doctors to perform surgery.
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