Belgian police shot an Afghan migrant at Ghent station Tuesday night after the man approached officers, threatening to attack them, and ignored orders to drop a knife.
Two shots were fired by the officers after the man failed to respond to orders to drop the knife, one of which struck the would-be assailant, causing him to drop his weapon. The 28-year-old man, who was described as being of Afghan origin and as wearing “a white turban” was handcuffed and taken to hospital, and was in critical condition, although that has now improved.
The station and surrounding streets were evacuated by police as a precaution after the attack.
Belgian Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports nothing is known about the man, his identity, or motivation — however, Belgian police have said they do not believe the “undocumented” Afghan was moved by a terror motive to take a knife to attack police at the station. Police have not yet had the opportunity to interrogate the suspect.
A police spokesman told the paper: “The motive is not yet clear… that will be fully investigated”. The paper also reported although there was no certainty over who the man was, he did not appear to be known for previous crimes and “there are no signs of radicalisation.”
Het Belang van Limburg reports the police’s remarks on available CCTV footage, which shows: “The man with a knife rushes into the station and immediately picks two members from the patrolling railway police, who fired at him.”
The newspaper also reports that rumours the man quoted verses of the Quran during the attack had not been confirmed by police.