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2017 Brussels stabbing attack

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2017 Brussels stabbing attack
Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe
LocationBrussels, Belgium
Date25 August 2017 (2017-08-25)
TargetBrussels police officers
Attack type
Deaths1 (the attacker)[1]
PerpetratorsHaashi Ayaanle
MotiveIslamic extremism

On 25 August 2017, a stabbing occurred near the Grand-Place/Grote Markt (main square) in Brussels, Belgium, when two soldiers were injured by an assailant wielding a knife.[2][3][4]



Since the Paris attacks in 2015 and the 2016 Brussels bombings, soldiers have been on patrol in Brussels.[5] The New York Times reported that Brussels had been "on edge" as a result of previous terrorist attacks,[6] and Reuters reported that "1,200 soldiers patrol Belgium's main cities and the country is on its second highest threat level."[7]

The attack took place on the Boulevard Émile Jacqmain/Émile Jacqmainlaan, near the city's central Grand-Place/Grote Markt,[8] and was being treated by Belgian authorities as a terrorist attack.[9][1][8]

The assailant was Haashi Ayaanle, a 30-year-old male Somali immigrant born in 1987. Authorities say he was not known for terrorist activity. Ayaanle was shot and later died of his injuries in hospital.[1][10][11][12] He arrived in Belgium in 2004 and was granted Belgian citizenship in 2015.[13] Ayaanle lived in public housing in Bruges, where the mayor declared the suspect showed no prior signs of radicalization.[14][15]

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said that the assailant shouted "Allahu Akbar" twice as he rushed the soldiers, attacking them from behind.[16][8][17] In addition to the large knife with which he attacked, Ayaanle was carrying a replica of a gun and a copy of the Quran.[2][16] The alleged assailant, Haashi Ayaanle, worked for Victor Buyck Steel Construction in Eeklo as a welder from 2013 until April 2017. He was let go by the company after an incident in April 2017 when he attempted to attack fellow workers with a screwdriver. Although Ayaanle's fellow workers asserted that there had been no motive for the attack, Ayaanle told his attorney that they were peeking at him in his home and taking clandestine photos of him, causing the lawyer to request a mental status examination and resulting in Ayaanle being voluntarily hospitalized at St. Jan psychiatric hospital in Eeklo. He was discharged after three weeks, with advice to continue taking his prescribed medication. He found work again for a short time, before falling out of contact, even with his attorney.[18][19] Ayaanle was reported as having been in contact with members of the Somali fundamentalist community.[20][21]



The Amaq News Agency, claimed that the Islamic State was responsible for the attack.[2][16][8] According to the Amaq statement, "the perpetrator of the stabbing operation in Brussels is one of the soldiers of the Islamic State, and he carried out the operation in response to appeals to target countries of the [US-led] coalition".[8]

The Belgian Secretary of Interior, Jan Jambon, praised the soldiers and the police.[22]

General Marc Thys, commander of Belgian land forces, said that "uniforms are a target" and that his forces would change tactics to adapt to the threat,[23][24] and later said the military expected to have to continue patrolling the streets until 2020.[25]

Europol classified the incident as jihadist terrorism in its report about terrorism in Europe during 2017.[26]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Belgian soldiers shoot dead knife attacker in Brussels". Reuters. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Telegraph Foreign Staff (27 August 2017). "Islamic State claims Brussels knife attack on soldiers". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. ^ Jack Hardy. "Two police injured after knifeman attacks near Buckingham Palace". The Independent. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Brussels attack: Man shot after stabbing soldier". BBC News. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  5. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Großeinsatz nach Explosion: Soldat schießt Verdächtigen an Brüsseler Hauptbahnhof nieder - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 2017-06-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ STEVEN ERLANGER; MILAN SCHREUER. "Belgian Soldiers Kill Knife-Wielding Man in Brussels". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2017. Both London and Brussels have been on edge after terrorist assaults in both cities.
  7. ^ Pascale Davies. (29 August 2017). "'Uniforms a target' Belgian General says after Brussels stabbing" (Transcript). Reuters. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 1,200 soldiers patrol Belgium's main cities and the country is on its second highest threat level. Its security operation - known as 'operation vigilant guardian' was meant to be a temporary measure. But it is now entering its third year
  8. ^ a b c d e "News 'Islamic State' claims Brussels machete attack". DW. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  9. ^ Rankin, Jennifer (25 August 2017). "Man, 30, shot dead in Brussels after knife attack on two soldiers". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  10. ^ Grafton-Green, Patrick (25 August 2017). "Brussels attack: Man 'shouting Allahu Akbar' shot after attacking soldiers with machete". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  11. ^ Kentish, Ben (25 August 2017). "Brussels machete attack suspect 'still alive' after being shot while stabbing soldiers". The Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Man, 30, shot in Brussels after knife attack on two soldiers". The Guardian. Reuters. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Belgian of Somali origin staged Brussels knife attack: prosecutors". Yahoo News. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  14. ^ JULIEN BALBONI (27 August 2017). "Attentat de Bruxelles : l'intrigant profil de l'assaillant des militaires". La Libre (in French). Retrieved 2 September 2017. According to the bourgmestre of Bruges, Renaat Landuyt, Haashi Ayaanle had not been seen in his neighborhood of Bruges for four months. "There was no sign of radicalization on the part of the individual," Landuyt said.
  15. ^ McCleary, Kelly (26 August 2017). "ISIS claims attack on soldiers in Brussels". CNN. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  16. ^ a b c Deutrom, Rihan (28 August 2017). "Islamic State gloats as terrorist fear grips Europe". The Australian. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  17. ^ Greenfield, Daniel (6 September 2017). "A Bloody August – Global Terror Attacks Increase Amid Growing Fear". Jewish Voice. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  18. ^ ""Brussels attacker didn't need to be sectioned"". 29 August 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  19. ^ Maeckelbergh, Bjorn (28 August 2017). "Aanvaller militairen ontsloeg zichzélf uit psychiatrie". HLN. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  20. ^ "L'assaillant de Bruxelles en contact "avec une cellule fondamentaliste somalienne"". 7 Sur 7 (in French). 28 August 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. Ayaanle Haashi, the individual who attacked soldiers with a knife in Brussels on Friday night, was in contact via the internet with the Somali fundamentalist milieu
  21. ^ "Bruxelles : l'assaillant était en contact avec des islamistes". La Capitale (in French). Retrieved 20 September 2017. The name of the one who attacked three soldiers in the center of Brussels on the evening of Friday appears in the file of a Somali Islamic affiliate active in Europe.
  22. ^ "Jambon: "Accused known for some crime, not for terrorism"". Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). 26 August 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017. The soldiers did what they had to do," said Jambon. "It is the duty of the soldiers and the police to protect the citizens and the institutions, they have done that perfectly, at risk for their own body and members. My respect is enormous.
  23. ^ New Tactics to Protect Soldiers on Belgian Streets, Euro News, 29 Aug 2017
  24. ^ 'Uniforms a target' Belgian General says after Brussels stabbing, Reuters, 29 August 2017
  25. ^ "Les militaires se préparent à rester dans les rues jusqu'en 2020". 28 August 2017.
  26. ^ European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018 (TE SAT 2018) (PDF). Europol. 2018. p. 24. ISBN 978-92-95200-91-3. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.