Officers killed in Belgium shooting were women, police chief confirms

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A Belgian prisoner who killed three people in the city of Liege, Belgium, Tuesday before being gunned down by police had been freed for two days on a prison-release program. She said the assessment was based Herman's actions, which she says mirrors the Islamic State group's videotaped calls for supporters to attack police with knives and steal their weapons.

Tuesday's attack happened outside a cafe in the eastern city of Liege when the assailant crept up on the two female officers from behind and stabbed them repeatedly. The shooter, Belgian national Benjamin Herman, also took a woman hostage during his rampage on Tuesday, and Jambon said she may have talked him down and helped to avoid more deaths inside the school.

Three police officers were also attacked in Brussels in October 2016 by a man wielding a machete.

Herman served time for petty crimes but authorities said he may have been radicalized while in jail and was reportedly in touch with people who were radicalized in recent years. The attacker is alleged to have killed the man by hitting him over the head with a blunt object.

"He is not a clear-cut case, on the contrary", Mr Geens said.

'They reacted well. All the systems, all the procedures worked. "He used the weapons on the officers, who died", spokesman Phillip Dulieu told reporters.

Belgian federal magistrate Wenke Roggen said the attack was considered "terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder".

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Liege Police Chief Christian Beaupere said at a news conference that the slain officers were 45 years old and 53 years old, the latter the mother of twins. A male civilian sitting in a nearby auto, 22-year-old Cyril Vangriecken, was also shot dead by the gunman.

The investigation into the shooting, which left two police officers and a bystander dead, has been taken over by the office which usually deals with extremist attacks and a senior official said "there are indications it could be a terror attack".

A separate report by Belgium's public broadcaster, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), claimed that police had indicated that the gunman had been killed.

Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said he was following the situation closely and expressed his support for the victims of the shooting, reported BBC. The two police handguns had a total of 17 bullets.

Prosecutors said Herman had several run-ins with police since he was a minor, including convictions for assault, drugs and insubordination. He then shot the driver of a vehicle and dropped dead when the police shot him at the point.

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

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