“There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act.”
Eric Van Der Sypt — Spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office
“The question of whether this man should have been given leave is striking because he killed three completely innocent people with a wish to kill himself. I feel responsible because I have responsibility for prisons.”
Koen Geens — Belgian Justice Minister
May 29 2018 — A man has shot dead two police officers and a bystander in the eastern Belgian city of Liège. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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Shortly before noon, Benjamin Herman (Belgian, about 32 year-old) followed and attacked two female police officers — Lucile Garcia, 53, and Soraya Belkacemi, 45 — with a knife, before taking a gun from them and opening fire.
The two police officers are dead. The gunman also shot dead a 22-year-old man who was sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car.
He then took a female cleaner hostage at a school before being killed by police.
“Named only as Darifa by Belgian media, the cleaner has said Herman had burst in and asked her two questions: was she a Muslim, and was she observing Ramadan?
She answered yes to both, she said, and he replied that he would not harm her.”
The man’s motive is not yet clear but police sources quoted in local media said the man was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic).
The gunman was let out from prison on temporary release yesterday (Monday May 28 2018) where he had been serving time on drug offences.
The gunman was known as an islamic extremist — radicalized in jail — by the Belgian Intelligence Services.
The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, said Herman had been indirectly mentioned in state security reports on radicalization but he was not on a watch-list.
“Different services considered that, based on the elements they had, there was no reason to give him such a qualification,” he said.
Herman is alleged to have killed a fourth person. Herman, who was serving a 17-year sentence in Marche-en-Famenne prison for drugs and theft convictions, was given 36 hours’ leave on Monday morning.
He then visited a former inmate and killed him. Reports say the victim was Michael Wilmet, 30, a convicted drug dealer who was hit repeatedly with a hammer.
Three killed in Belgium shooting
Breaking NEWS — Three killed in Belgium shooting