Belgium: Gunman kills 2 women cops, civilian before being shot
Two women police officers were killed besides one other on Tuesday, May 29, in Liege city in eastern Belgium by a gunman. The assailant was later gunned down by the police.
The horrible incident occurred at 10:30 am local time (2 pm IST) near a high school on a major road in the city located around 90 kilometres east of Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
The motive behind the attack was not clear though the act was being treated as one of terrorism.
Prosecutor Philippe Dulieu told the media that the two police officers were first stabbed from behind before being shot by one of their guns, NBC News said.
The gunman, after killing the two policewomen and a 22-year-old who was sitting in a parked car, then fled to the Lycee Waha School where he took a cleaning woman as hostage.
The local media cited the police as saying that the killer was shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest), BBC reported. He was then shot dead by the elite police, prosecutors said. Four other officers were also injured during the operation to neutralise the assailant.
Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the country's federal crisis centre was monitoring the situation.
Liege's mayor Willy Demeyer said at a press conference that "physical and psychological support" would be provided to the victims' families, reports said.
He said all flags on municipal establishments will be kept at half mast and a book of condolences will be placed in the local town hall on Wednesday, May 30, to pay tributes to the victims.
The killer's motive was to "target the police", the Associated Press quoted Liege Police chief Christian Beaupere as saying. The man had just been released from prison on a two-day leave on Monday, May 28, Justice Minister Koen Geens said, the AP report added.
The gunman's identity was not immediately disclosed but sources told AFP news agency that he featured on a police watch list for having "contacts with radical Islamists".