Belgium attack: Liege assailant killed fourth person day before, minister says

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The knife-wielding man stabbed two police officers Tuesday in the Belgian city of Liege, stole their weapons and shot them and a bystander dead in an attack that prosecutors fear could be terror-related.

Benjamin Herman, an inmate released on a two-day prison furlough, attacked two female police officers with a knife from behind, stabbing them repeatedly, before stealing their weapons and shooting them as they lay on the ground, officials said.

A man stabbed two officers and took their guns before shooting them and a 22-year-old man sitting in a vehicle parked nearby.

RTBF said the gunman fled the scene, taking a female cleaner hostage at a nearby school before he was shot.

At least three people, including two policemen and a pedestrian, were killed on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire in the Belgian city of Liège.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF said the gunman was let out from prison on temporary release on Monday where he had been serving time on drug offences.

The Liege Prosecutor's Office declined to say if the incident was terror related, but anti-terror police were summoned to the scene.

A police source told Reuters the gunman shouted "Allahu Akhbar" during the shootout with police, where he was killed.

The cell also had links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 Islamic State attacks on Paris that killed 130 people. Pupils were moved to safety as a gunbattle broke out that sent people in the street racing for cover.

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In this undated handout provided by the Liege Police Department on May 30, 2018, Liege police officers Soraya Belkacemi, left, and Lucille Garcia, are seen. A spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor told CNN the attacker, who was shot dead by police, was 31 years old and had the initials B.H. but declined to provide the full name.

Speaking on Belgian television, Prime Minister Charles Michel said: "There was a serious incident". Four officers were wounded before the attacker was finally killed on the sidewalk.

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

- The high school pupils were evacuated from the rear of the building and none were injured.

A major security cordon was set up around the area, while panicked parents came to collect their children from the school complex.

"He wasn't part of a network, he did not receive instructions from anyone else, so there is no need to raise the terror threat alert level", Jambon said.

Belgium's global footballers paid tribute to the victims of this week's Liege attack as Eden Hazard and Co stood for a minute of silence before training.

Belgium remains on alert after a series of jihadist attacks in the country and in neighbouring France.