IS claims deadly attack on Belgium police: propaganda agency

Minnie Murray
June 1, 2018

Belgian Federal Magistrate Wenke Roggen yesterday said that the attack was considered "terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder".

The shooter, identified by Belgian authorities as Benjamin Herman, was a "solider of the Islamic State", the militant group's Amaq news agency claimed late Wednesday through a statement released via the messaging app Telegram, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist organizations.

He yelled "Allahu akbar", the Arabic phrase for "God is great", during Tuesday's rampage including when he ran out to face police the last time.

As Herman came out shooting and again shouting "Allahu akbar", he was shot dead by officers.

The fourth victim - who is alleged to have been killed after being hit over the head with a blunt object - was confirmed as a former inmate who did prison time with Herman.

Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has since offered his support to the victims and their families, while condemning the "blind and cowardly violence" of the attacker. A woman was taken hostage during the attack, and two police personnel were injured.

Herman then shot and killed trainee teacher Vangriecken as he sat in a auto with his mother. Several police were wounded before the attacker was finally killed.

Named only as Darifa by Belgian media, the cleaner said Herman had burst in and asked her two questions: was she a Muslim, and was she observing Ramadan? "But if you are attacked from behind, as was the case with the two officers, you can't do anything", he said.

Forensic investigators work at the scene where a gunman shot dead two police officers and a bystander in the eastern Belgian city of Liege.

After, he moved on to kill a 22-year-old man who was sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was parked nearby.

Forensic police worked at the scene of a shooting in Liege, Belgium, today.

Prosecutors said the man followed and "savagely" attacked the officers from behind with a knife before taking a gun from them and opening fire.

The attack has shaken Belgium.

King Philippe visited Liege, the biggest city in Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region.

The 36-year-old had a lengthy criminal record including theft, assault and drug charge convictions and had been flagged in three reports on radicalism.

But a senior official at the federal prosecutor's office told The Associated Press that "there are indications it could be a terror attack".

Despite this, Belgium's crisis center said it saw no reason to raise the country's terror threat alert for now.

Liège is an industrial city close to the German border in the French-speaking Wallonia region.

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.

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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