Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the attacker’s identity and motive were not immediately known, but he suspects it was an act of terrorism. Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon also said he had no information he could provide immediately on the identity or motivation of the attacker, other than to say it was “barbarian.”
Despite Michel and Jambon’s cluelessness, Belgium has been at Level 3 on a four-point terrorism alert scale since the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 victims and especially the March 22 suicide bombings that killed 32 people in Brussels.
The attack took place near a wooden building that had been erected outside the Charleroi police station to provide an additional layer of security after an IS-linked extremist plot was foiled in January 2014 in the eastern city of Verviers.
Paul Magnette, the city’s mayor, said the checkpoint succeeded in preventing the terrorist from reaching the building and causing more havoc. But Jambon said that the increased security measures implemented after that incident have now lapsed.