Gunman reportedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ kills three in Belgian city
By SUE SURKES and AFP
A gunman in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday shot dead three people — two police officers and a passerby in a vehicle — before he was killed by elite officers.
Prosecutors said the attacker killed the police officers with their own firearms.
The French-language Belgian news site LaLibre reported that the man had shouted “Allahu akbar” before police shot him.
The file has been passed to the federal prosecutor responsible for terrorism, one person at the Liege federal prosecutor’s office, spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt, said.
“There are elements that go in the direction of a terrorist act,” he was quoted by the French language RTL news site as saying.
But Catherine Collignon, another spokeswoman for the same office, told the AFP news agency that the attacker’s motive was not immediately clear. “We don’t know anything yet,” she said.
Media reports said the gunman shot dead two police officers at a cafe before fleeing to the Lycee Waha school, where he took a cleaning lady hostage.
Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Belgium’s Federal Crisis Center was monitoring the situation.
“Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrible act. We are in the process of establishing an overview of exactly what happened,” Jambon wrote on Twitter.
The crisis center said a security cordon had been set up around the area and urged people to stay away.
Belgium has been on high alert since the smashing of a terror cell in the town of Verviers in January 2015 that was planning an attack on police.
The Verviers cell also had links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 Islamic State attacks on Paris that killed 130 people.
Belgium further raised its terror alert level after the Paris attack, and placed the capital Brussels on lockdown for a week.
Belgium was then hit by its own IS suicide attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station that killed 32 people.