Police Officers, bystander, shot and killed in Belgium

01 June, 2018, 19:47 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Police at the scene of the shooting in Liege

Belgian police have identified Herman as a drifter who spent a decade in and out of prison for acts of violence and petty crimes.

Police officers are seen on the scene of a shooting in Liege May 29, 2018. "We are now working on determining what happened precisely", the nation's interior minister said on Twitter.

Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon said that investigators were trying to establish "exactly what happened", adding: "Our thoughts are with the victims of this awful act". Four officers were wounded. The third victim was a 22-year-old university student in Liege, about 60 miles east of Brussels, authorities said.

He said the policewomen were aged 45 and 53, the latter a mother of twins.

He then took two women hostage inside a school where he was shot dead by police after an exchange of gunfire.

Two other officers received injuries to their arms before the attacker was shot dead, prosecutors said.

During Tuesday's attack, Herman, who was on a two-day release from prison, crept up behind two female police officers, stabbed them repeatedly, stole their handguns and shot them in the back.

"It is clear that the objective of the assassin was to target the police", the head of Liege Police, Christian Beaupere, said later Tuesday. "He used the weapons on the officers, who died".

The attacker also fatally shot a 22-year-old man sitting in a parked vehicle in central Liege, then ran away.

A police source told Reuters the gunman shouted "Allahu Akhbar" during the shootout with police, where he was killed.

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Two other police officers had been injured, a spokeswoman for the Liege public prosecutors office said.

"The investigation judge must find out if we talk about terror".

Information for this article was contributed by Milan Schreuer of The New York Times; and by Lorne Cook, Sylvain Plazy and Raf Casert of The Associated Press.

When police closed in, he ran out onto the pavement, firing more shots, before police fatally shot him.

Belgium is still on alert after attacks by a Belgian-based cell of the Islamic State militant group killed scores of people in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels in 2016.

The official confirmed that the attacker had also been killed.

When asked about the report that the attack was terror-related, Liege city hall Michel Firket spokesman told the AP: "I know nothing formal about that".

Later in the day, a Belgian federal magistrate said investigators were treating Tuesday's attacks as a "terrorist murder" and were trying to ascertain whether the attacker acted alone.

The attacker fled from the scene and took a cleaning woman hostage at the entrance of a nearby high school, authorities said.

Footage on social media showed people running to safety as several gunshots rang out.

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