Belgium stabbing suspect 'on extremist watch list' – BBC

Prosecutors in Belgium say a man who killed a police officer in the capital Brussels on Thursday was on a list of potentially violent extremists.
The suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar" or "God is greatest" during the knife attack, according to a second officer who was also stabbed but survived.
Belgian authorities said the suspect had earlier walked into a police station requesting psychological help.
The suspect was shot by other police officers and remains in hospital.
At a press conference in Brussels on Friday, officials said the Belgian national – Yassine M – had been in jail between 2013 and 2019 for non-terror offences and was on a violent extremist watch list.
Earlier in the day the suspect, who was in his early-30s, visited a police station in the Schaerbeek area of northern Brussels, making incoherent remarks and talking about his hatred of the police.
He was escorted to a psychiatric unit for treatment but when police contacted the hospital later he had apparently already left, according to the Belgian federal prosecutor, which is leading the case.
Spokesman Eric Van Duyse said the suspect had targeted two officers while they waited at a red light in a patrol vehicle near the busy Gare du Nord train station.
The man stabbed the driver – a 29-year-old officer referred to as Thomas M – in the throat with a knife causing what were to be fatal injuries.
He then stabbed a second officer, aged 23, in the arm. He was taken to hospital for emergency surgery and is said to be recovering.
One local resident told the BBC they had heard "five or six shots" fired shortly after the attack, which occurred at around 19:15 (18:15 GMT).
"I was coming from work and I was on the phone with my dad and then I heard five or six gunshots," the witness, named Kremel, said.
"My father asked me 'what's going on?' I said it's probably fireworks. He told me, 'No, these are gunshots'."
The federal prosecutor's office said the attack is being viewed as assassination and attempted murder in a terrorist context.
Mr Van Duyse told the BBC he was not aware of the authorities being in contact with the suspect since his release from prison four years ago.
Under existing rules, he said, the suspect could not have been detained because he had voluntarily requested assistance. He said they would be looking at the chain of events as part of the investigation.
In a tweet sending condolences to the dead officer's family and friends, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo wrote: "Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens. Today's drama demonstrates this once again."
Police tape, sealed-off streets and flashing blue lights bring back bad memories for Brussels.
It was six years ago, but Brussels still bears the marks of a co-ordinated terrorist attack – at the main airport and on the metro – that killed 32 people in 2016.
In the coming weeks, nine alleged members of a cell of the so-called Islamic State group are due to go on trial for their involvement in the attacks.
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"I find energy in that place" – Brussels attack survivor Sebastien Bellin on returning to the airport
Additional reporting by Mattea Bubalo
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