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Belgium detain six suspected of links to August machete attack

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian police detained six people on Wednesday suspected of links to a machete attack on two female police officers in August that was claimed by Islamic State.

Federal prosecutors said that during searches of eight houses in and near the city of Charleroi, several weapons were seized, some of them similar to the one used in the attack. A judge was to decide later on Wednesday whether to hold the six detained people longer.

A machete-wielding Algerian man yelling “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greatest) seriously wounded the two policewomen before being fatally shot in Charleroi outside the city’s police headquarters on a Saturday in August.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack by the 33-year-old man a day later. Federal prosecutors are treating the case as terrorism.

Belgium and its capital Brussels, home to European Union institutions and the headquarters of NATO, are currently on a security alert level of three out of a maximum four, denoting a “serious, possible and probable” threat.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Trevelyan