A man shot by police after he attacked two officers with a machete in the Belgian city of Charleroi has died.

The assailant is said to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest" in Arabic) during the assault outside the city's main police station.

One of the policewomen was taken to hospital with "deep wounds to the face" while the other was slightly injured, Belga news agency said.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has said "preliminary indications" suggest the attack was an act of terrorism, but that authorities are still collecting information.

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The prime minister cut short his vacation in the south of France and will return to Belgium for a meeting on Sunday of the National Security Council.

The machete attack took place at a wooden hut that had been erected outside the Charleroi police station to provide an additional layer of security.

Paul Magnette, mayor of the city in southern Belgium, says the checkpoint succeeded in preventing the attacker from reaching the building and causing more havoc. The mayor said that in the wake of the attack, Belgian authorities are discussing whether security for police facilities and officers should be beefed up further.

Belgium has been on high security alert for months since suicide bombers hit Brussels airport and a subway station near the European Union's institutions on March 22, killing 32 people.

The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. Separately on July 30, Belgian authorities charged a 33-year-old man, identified as Nourredine H., with attempting to commit "terrorist murder" and "taking part in the activities of a terrorist organisation." Belgium was also a springboard for the Islamic State cell which carried out the November 13 2015 attacks in Paris which killed 130 people, investigators say.