Belgium: Gunman kills two police officers, civilian, shot dead in Liege

Emergency services arrive in Liege's central boulevard on Tuesday morning

He then took a female cleaner hostage in the nearby Leonie de Waha school, a public institution with several hundred students aged from two to 18.

Herman, a Belgian native, was an inmate who had been granted a few hours release Monday, but failed to return to prison.

Wenke Roggen said Herman shouted "Allahu akbar", the Arabic phrase for God is great, several times during the shooting rampage before he was shot down by a group of police officers.

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

Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said he was following the situation closely and expressed his support for the victims of the shooting, reported BBC.

The murders of police officers Lucile Garcia, 45, and Soraya Belkacemi, 53, and 22-year-old Cyril Vangriecken has sent shock waves through the small nation.

Jambon added that the woman he took hostage may have talked the shooter down and helped to avoid more deaths inside the school. A gun battle broke out and the attacker was killed. "I went back to the classroom and locked the door for a while", he said. As he attempted to flee the building, he threatening police and was shot dead by officers on the street.

A gunman shot dead three people, two of them police officers, in a suspected terror attack in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday before being killed by elite officers, prosecutors told AFP.

On Tuesday, Benjamin Herman attacked two policewomen in Liege, Belgium with a knife.

Unlike after other suspected "lone wolf" attacks in Europe, there has been no claim of responsibility by so-called Islamic State.

The terrorism threat level in Belgium has not been raised, despite the federal authorities saying that it might be a terrorist act.

"We learned what happened this morning in Belgium during our meeting and the terrible attack which seems to be treated as a terror attack by the public prosecutor's office", he said.

Police have revealed he was known to authorities for years, predominantly as a petty criminal with a record that included theft, drug offences and assault.

Officials are treating the motives for the killings of the officers and the bystander in Liege as terrorism.

A spokeswoman for the city mayor's office, Laurence Comminette, told the AP that the children were all safe.

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.

"Every morning I am scared that something like this will happen, and every day it happens closer to home", Melissa Lamny told The Associated Press after wrapping flowers around a lamppost at the scene of the killings. On Monday, the 31-year-old killed a man who had served prison time with him.

In 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels - later claimed by Islamic State - killed 32 people, putting the country on high terror alert.

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