Gunman kills two police officers, one civilian in Belgium terrorist attack
Email Gunman kills two police officers, one civilian in Belgium terrorist attack
Updated May 30, 2018 08:56:23Video: Gunman shoots police in Liege terrorist attack that leaves four dead and two injured (ABC News) Related Story: Information for paris bombing map Related Story: As it happened: At least 120 people killed in multiple Paris attacks Related Story: Belgium charges two, detains three over Brussels, Paris attacks Map: Belgium
A gunman has killed two police officers and a passer-by before being shot dead in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege, in what a public prosecutor called "a terrorist incident".
- A crisis centre official says the situation around the shooting site is fully safe
- The event is classed as a terrorist incident, Prosecutor Philippe Dulieu says
- Prime Minister Charles Michel expresses his condolences to victims' families
The man was named by public broadcaster RTBF as a 36-year-old petty criminal and drug dealer who was let out of jail on day-release on Monday (local time).
A Belgian politician said the man had been on an anti-terrorist police watchlist after being radicalised in jail, apparently as a convert to Islam â" raising questions about why he seems to have been freed unsupervised and expected to return.External Li nk: En dessous de mon boulot je je ne sais pas ce quâil se passe mais Ã§a se passe
"The event is classed as a terrorist incident," public prosecutor Philippe Dulieu told a news conference.
Officials said the man attacked the policewomen, aged 45 and 53, from behind with a knife â" described as a box-cutter by RTBF â" about 10:30am on a boulevard in the centre of Belgium's third biggest city, near the German border.
After slashing the officers, the man seized their handguns and shot both.
He shot dead a 22-year-old trainee teacher who was sitting in a car before entering a high school about 100 metres away and taking two female employees hostage.
That triggered a major intervention by armed police. Pupils were moved to safety as a gun battle broke out, sending people in the street racing for cover.
Several police officers were wounded before the attacker was finally killed.
"Th e goal of the assassin was to target the police," Liege police chief Christian Beaupere told a news conference.
The case highlighted the risk of even petty criminals becoming radicalised while incarcerated.
Convicts have been behind several recent attacks in Europe, including some using little more weaponry than a knife or rental truck.
The national crisis centre, on high alert since attacks by Islamic State in Paris and Brussels in the past three years, said it had not raised its alert level â" an indication the man was acting alone and follow-up attacks were not expected.Photo: Forensic police investigate the scene of the shooting. (AP: Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
La Libre Belgique newspaper quoted a police source as saying the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar" â" God is greatest in Arabic.
A Koran and prayer rug were found during a search of his cell, Paris-Match magazine said.
Belgian media said he had been put on the radical watchlist last year.
De Standaard newspaper said police also suspected him of the murder late on Monday of a criminal associate whose body was found south of Liege.
Confirming the attacker was on the police watchlist, politician George Dallemagne, who sits on several Belgian parliamentary security committees, tweeted: "The supervision of radicalised prisoners remains tragically flawed."
Images on social media showed people scurrying for safety on Liege's central boulevard d'Avroy, with shots and sirens being heard in the background.
Prime Minister Charles Michel and King Philippe visited Liege, the biggest city in Belgium's French-speaking Wall onia region.
Liege, an industrial city close to the German border in a French-speaking region, was the scene of a shooting in 2011, in which a gunman killed four people and wounded more than 100 others before turning the gun on himself.
Belgium has been on high alert since a Brussels-based Islamic State cell was involved in attacks in Paris in 2015 that killed 130 people and in Brussels in 2016, in which 32 died.
Topics: murder-and-manslaughter, police, terrorism, belgium
First posted May 29, 2018 21:43:45Source: Google News