Belgians ID machete attacker as Algerian criminal, 33

Belgian prosecutors say he was a 33-year-old Algerian who was known to police for criminal offenses, but not for terrorist acts.

As of Sunday morning, Belgian authorities had released no information on the assailant, who shouted "Allahu akbar!" during the attack Saturday outside the main police station in Charleroi.

On Sunday the so-called Islamic State group called him one of its "soldiers". A man attacked two police officers with a machete near the police headquarters in Charleroi, Belgium on Saturday before being apprehended. The assailant, shot by a third officer, died later in a hospital.

He said: "We have been informed by federal prosecutors that an investigation has started for attempted terrorist murder... given certain elements (in the case)".

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel speaks during a media conference at the prime ministers office in Brussels on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. He cut short his vacation in the southern France to return to Belgium.

"I repeat my message that we must keep a cool head". "We must avoid panic, of course - not give in to terror".

The ISIS unit which attacked Paris last November, killing 130 people in one night, is said to have picked up its AK47s and explosives in the city before heading for the French capital.

Belgium is still at security alert level three, the second highest level, since the March 22 bombings at a Brussels airport and a subway station which killed 32 people.

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

Steven Vandeput, defence minister, said the government's crisis centre would meet to determine if additional measures should be taken to protect police buildings and staff.

Both officers are "out of danger", Charleroi police said Saturday evening on Twitter.

Belgian officials said the local prosecutor in Charleroi and federal police are investigating the incident.

On June 27, Belgium deployed six F-16s to the Middle East for a year as part of the USA -led coalition, with orders to strike Islamic State targets while operating in Syrian and Iraqi airspace, the Belgian Defense Ministry announced at the time.

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