Daesh terrorist group claims deadly attack on police in Belgium's Liege

31 May, 2018, 17:04 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Police at the scene

Police and ambulance are seen at the site where a gunman shot dead three people, two of them policemen, before being killed by elite officers, in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on 29 May 2018.

He went on to shoot a passenger in a passing auto and briefly took a woman hostage in a nearby high school before being killed in a shootout with the police, which wounded several officers.

It is being treated as terrorism given the way Herman acted, she said, adding that it resembled Islamic State group calls via video to attack police with knives and steal their weapons.

"The one responsible for the shooting was shot dead", Liege's mayor office said later.

Herman had been in jail since 2003 and had a lengthy criminal record that included theft, assault and drug offences.

Jambon told broadcaster RTL that Herman "also committed a murder the night before" and confirmed that the person killed was a former inmate who was in prison with Herman.

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The gunman reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" - "God is greatest" in Arabic - during the attack and had been in contact with radical Islamists in jail in 2016 and early 2017. The third victim was a 22-year-old university student in Liege, about 60 miles east of Brussels, authorities said.

Shortly after taking the woman hostage, 36-year-old Herman ran from the school firing at police and was gunned down.

Belgium's deputy prime minister Alexander de Croo said: "Everyone in Belgium is asking the same question: how is it possible that someone convicted for such serious acts was allowed to leave prisons?"

Belgian media have identified the suspect in Tuesday's attack as Benjamin Herman, a Belgian national born in 1982, though in keeping with standard procedure authorities declined to confirm his identity.

On Tuesday morning, the man stabbed two policewomen from behind before stealing their service weapons and using them to kill the officers.

"Armed with a knife, the suspect followed and attacked two police officers, and used their own firearms to kill them".

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Finally, during the attack he briefly took a woman hostage at a school.

A man opened fire, killing two police officers and a nearby driver.

The 31-year-old also shot dead a student sitting in a parked vehicle in the center of the industrial city.

The assailant has since been "neutralized", a spokesperson from the Liege prosecutor's office told CNN. The country's federal crisis centre said there was "absolutely no confirmation yet that the incident is terror-related".

The cell also had links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 ISIS attacks on Paris that killed 130 people.

Pierre Etienne Dit Pave, who teaches French language classes nearby, said he was first alerted to the attack by a "commotion in the street" and went out to investigate.

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