Gunman shoots two police officers in Belgium, according to reports

Glen Norman
June 1, 2018

These first elements have to be understood as the modus operandi regularly shown on the internet by IS in their video messages: suggesting to attack the police with a knife and rob them of their service weapons.

Belgian police have identified Herman as a drifter who spent a decade in and out of prison for acts of violence and petty crimes. Local media report that he may have been radicalised while in jail. The suspect was shot dead by police.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon confirmed Tuesday that Herman had murdered another person on Monday.

'They reacted well. All the systems, all the procedures worked.

A gunman shot dead two police officers and a bystander in the eastern city of Liege, according to reports in Belgium.

He said the policewomen were aged 45 and 53, the latter a mother of twins.

"The children in the local schools are safe", Liege city authorities said on Twitter, adding that apart from the two police officers the passenger in a auto had been killed.

Belgian prosecutors say the attacker disarmed police and used their weapons in a shooting rampage.

Liege prosecutors' spokesman Philippe Dulieu said the man crept up on the two officers from behind, before stabbing them several times.

Dulieu said that the attacker "then took their weapons".

He then gunned down Cyril Vangriecken, 22, who was in a parked vehicle with his mother, and fled to a nearby school, where he took a woman hostage. Security forces were called to the scene and killed the attacker around 11 a.m.

"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", Geens said.

An investigation has been launched into the incident, including the circumstances surrounding Herman's release from prison, he added.

Information for this article was contributed by Milan Schreuer of The New York Times; and by Lorne Cook, Sylvain Plazy and Raf Casert of The Associated Press.

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

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

Authorities are investigating the incident as a possible lone-wolf Islamic terrorist attack. No students were harmed but four police officers were injured. Two other people have been wounded.

In an interview with French-language Belgian public broadcaster RTBF, Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens, who oversees the prison program, said he had to "examine [his] own conscience". He also took a cleaning lady in a nearby school hostage.

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