Belgium shooting: 'Terrorist' attacker killed fourth person day before Liege attack

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 30, 2018, 04:54 PM IST

Police special forces are seen during a shooting in Liege, Belgium, May 29, 2018. Photograph:(Reuters)

The man who killed two police officers and a civilian in Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday has been suspected of killing one other person on the eve of his rampage, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The 36-year-old man is "suspected of manslaughter" in a separate investigation into the death of a man the night before Tuesday's rampage, Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for federal prosecutors, told a press conference.

On Wednesday, the prosecutors said that attacker's modus operandi inspired by Islamic State.

"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 from their service weapons. Also the fact that the perpetrator shouted at different times "Allahu Akbar" and finally the information furnished by the Federal Police of Liege and the State Security Service according to which the perpetrator was in touch with radicalized persons," he said. 

On Tuesday, the attacker stabbed the women police officers first and then used their own weapon to fire shots before walking down the street and shooting dead a 22-year-old man who was sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car.

The man then made his way into a high school where he took a woman employee hostage, triggering a major intervention by armed police. Pupils were moved to safety as a gunbattle broke out that sent people in the street racing for cover. Several police officials were wounded before the attacker was finally killed. 

As per UK based reports, the police identified the gunman as Benjamin Herman, 36, from Rochefort, a city close to Liege. He had been involved in criminal activities such as robbery, assault, and drug-dealing and was well-known to the police. 

Interior Minister Jan Jambon said authorities were still examining the motives of Benjamin Herman, a drug dealer who had been in jail for years but was let out for two days on Monday to prepare for an eventual release in 2020.

But federal prosecutors said there was evidence that they were dealing with “terrorist murder”.