- MICHEL WILMET via REUTERS
- A gunman shot dead three people, including two female police officers, in Liège, eastern Belgium, on Tuesday morning.
- He also took a woman hostage at a nearby school. It is not clear whether she was hurt.
- The perpetrator was shot dead by police. The incident is being treated as a terror attack.
- The assailant reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is greatest,” during the attack.
- Local media say the attacker was Benjamin Herman, a 36-year-old Belgian who was recently released from prison.
Three people, including two female police officers, were killed by a gunman in eastern Belgium during a terror attack.
The perpetrator, who also took a hostage during the incident, was shot dead by police.
Authorities in Belgium are treating the incident as terrorism, the BBC reported, citing Belgian authorities. La Libre, a Belgian national newspaper, reported that the gunman shouted “Allahu akbar,” an Arabic phrase that means “God is greatest,” during the attack.
He was known to law enforcement for drug trafficking, petty crime, and disrupting public order, but not for extremism, RTBF said.
Later on Tuesday, Police Chief Christian Beaupere identified the two officers who were killed as 45-year-old Lucile Garcia and 53-year-old Soraya Belkacemi, the Associated Press reported.
Belkacemi was the mother of 13-year-old twin girls who recently lost their father, who was also a police officer, Beaupere said.
Multiple gun shots were heard near Rue des Augustins in downtown Liège around 10:30 a.m. local time. Videos from the event show police cars pulled up, and gunfire is audible.
— Antoine Rsn (@toutoun_rens) May 29, 2018
The suspect, who was originally armed with a knife, stabbed two policewomen from behind on Rue des Augustins, before taking one of their handguns and shooting both of them dead, according to the city’s prosecutors.
He then walked down the street and shot at a 22-year-old man who was in a nearby car. Both police officers and the bystander died.
The assailant then went to a nearby high school and took a female employee hostage, prosecutors said. The hostage’s condition since then isn’t clear.
Other police officers were also injured in a scuffle with the suspect.
The video below shows the moments before the suspect was shot dead by police:
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 29, 2018
- Courtesy of VICTOR JAY/via REUTERS
Belgium has been on high alert since a domestic Islamic State cell killed 32 people in three coordinated suicide attacks in Brussels in March 2016.
The same militants were also involved in attacks on Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.
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