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Three injured in Schuman knife attack, incident not terrorist related say police

Knife attack at Schuman metro station - Belga
12:04 31/01/2023

Belgian police say a knife attack at a busy Brussels metro station that left three injured, one critically, is not thought to be terrorist related.

The 30-year-old attacker was quickly arrested after the incident at Schuman metro station at rush hour on Monday evening.

Brussels' mayor Philippe Close Tweeted: "Cooperation with the various federal police services and (the local police) ensured that the perpetrator could be arrested quickly.”

The motive for the attack is not clear, the prosecutor's office said, although it is believed the attacker was known to the police.

It happened at 17.45 in a metro carriage as the train arrived at Schuman. Eye witnesses said the attacker got off the metro then ran through the station and attempted to attack a woman pushing a pram.

One of the wounded is still in a critical condition; all three are being treated in hospital. The attacker was arrested at the station, which was temporarily evacuated and closed after the incident.

Public transport company Stib said metro traffic was disrupted for a while but later returned to normal.

Footage circulating on social media showed how police held the suspect at gunpoint, then forced him to the ground and handcuffed him. “He is a 30-year-old man,” Martin François, from the prosecutor’s office, is reported as saying.

"At this point, there does not appear to be a terrorist motive."

A witness told Euronews the assault unfolded inside the metro train when the attacker stabbed a woman with a knife and asked passengers to exit. 

"I got into the metro carriage," and "the doors closed and then one moment I saw a crowd of people coming out shouting."

"What happened was that it was a man with a knife. He stabbed, as I understand it, a woman and then he wanted to attack us. What he wanted, mainly, was for us to get out of the carriage and for him to be alone while waiting for the police."

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, reacted to the attack on Twitter: "Emotion in the European quarter." He added: "Warm thoughts for the victims. Thanks to the security forces."

The station, one of the busiest in the city, is at the heart of the EU quarter and located directly next to the headquarters of the European Commission and European Council.

Photo: © Belga/Hatim Kaghat

Written by Martin Banks