UN chief condemns killing in Belgium

Emergency services arrive in Liege's central boulevard on Tuesday morning

Emergency services arrive in Liege's central boulevard on Tuesday morning Credit VICTORJ_FR Twitter

Bernadette Hennart, mother of late police officer Soraya Belkacemi, accompanied by her son Kamel Belkacemi, pays tribute to her daughter who was killed on May 29 during a shooting in Liege, Belgium, May 30, 2018.

Belgian prosecutors say the attacker in Liege disarmed police and used their weapons in a shooting rampage.

Early reports state that Belgian national Herman was a drug dealer and robber who was radicalised behind bars, and was out on day release.

Mr Geens added it was the fourteenth time the assailant had been granted temporary leave in an effort to help him "prepare" for an eventual release in 2020.

The Liege attack which left three dead, along with the gunman, was a "terrorist murder", Belgium's federal magistrate said Wednesday. It is thought he may have been radicalised in jail.

Jambon told broadcaster RTL Wednesday that the shooter, identified as Benjamin Herman, "also committed a murder the night before". "Also the fact that the perpetrator shouted different times Allahu akbar (the Arabic phrase for God is great)", explained Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutors. The suspect was then killed in a gun battle with police officers who rushed to the scene, Dulieu said.

The gunman later took a woman hostage at a local school before being shot dead by police.

Belgian outlet Le Soir reported Thursday that a report drafted by a prison guard a few days before the attack warned Herman had befriended a radicalized inmate known to be an accomplice of the suicide bomber behind the Brussels terror attacks in 2016.

Herman attacked the two officers with a knife, taking their service weapons and shooting them dead.

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Liege police on Tuesday said it was "clear that the assassin's objective was to attack the police" and that one of the four officers wounded had suffered a serious leg injury.

"But if you are attacked from behind, as was the case with the two officers, you can't do anything".

Then, he went into a nearby cafe but didn't see anyone inside and later opened fire on a vehicle killing a 22-year-old man before barricading himself inside a school, where the police ultimately killed him in a shootout.

Prime Minister Charles Michel denounced what he called the "cowardly and blind violence" of Tuesday's attack.

"He then took their weapons".

Images on social media showed people scurrying for safety on Liege's central boulevard d'Avroy with shots and sirens being heard in the background.

But Belgium's crisis centre said it saw no reason to raise the country's terror threat alert for now.

Yves Stevens of the crisis center told the Associated Press that "there is absolutely no confirmation yet that the incident is terror-related".

The cell was linked to the mastermind of the November 2015 IS attacks on Paris that killed 130 people.

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