A suspected terrorist attack in the Belgian city of Liege has left a total of four people dead, including the attacker. Authorities on Tuesday confirmed the toll from the shooting in d’Avroy central boulevard which left two policewomen and a passer-by dead. The man who carried out the attack, identified as a 36-year-old Belgian, was also killed by the police.
Local media said the man had been released on parole from a prison near Liege on Monday. They said he was serving time for drug offences and was classified as “unstable”.
However, the local prosecutor held a news conference and said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack.
The prosecutor said the man shot the policewomen dead after attacking them with a knife from behind and taking one of their guns. Then, he said, the man shot dead a young man who was the passenger in a parked car before being killed by police in a gunfight in a school where the attacker had been taking refuge. Several other police forces were wounded during the gunfight, said the prosecutor.
Over the past years, Belgium has suffered from a series of terrorist attacks, mainly by the recruits of Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group that is now almost purged from its bastions in Iraq and Syria. The Western European country remains on high alert since a Daesh cell based in the capital Brussels carried out massive attacks in Paris in November 2015 and killed 130 people in a matter of a night. The same terror cell was behind attacks in Brussels a year later that killed 32 people.
Liege, where the Tuesday shooting took place, is the biggest city in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region. It was the scene of a mass shooting in 2011, when a gunman killed four people and wounded more than 100 others before killing himself. Liege is also close to Verviers, another industrial town close to the German and Dutch borders, where two militants linked to the Brussels-based cell of Daesh had established a safe house after returning from fighting in Syria before being busted by police in early 2015.