A man killed three people, including two female police officers, on Tuesday in Liège, Belgium, before taking another person hostage and being shot dead by the police.
The attack occurred around 10:30 am on the boulevard d’Avroy, a main artery of Liège, in Wallonia. The man « assaulted [the two police officers] from the behind by giving them multiple stab wounds, » said the Liège prosecutor, Philippe Dulieu, at a press conference.
The assailant then seized their service weapons and fired, killing the two women along with a 22-year-old man seated in a nearby car.
He then fled to a high school where he hijacked an employee. When the police intervened near the establishment, he came out shooting, wounding « several » members of the police on the legs before being shot.
The situation on site is now under control and no confinement measures have been put in place around the schools, said the Liège police. Léonie de Waha High School, where the hostage was taken, will remain closed on Wednesday.
The investigation has been entrusted to the Belgian federal prosecutor, responsible for terrorism. « There are elements that go in the direction of a terrorist act, » said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the federal prosecutor. The « qualification of terrorist offense » was later confirmed by the authorities at a press conference.
The mayor of Liège, Willy Demeyer, has been to the scene and King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel are also expected on site. A minute of silence will be observed on Wednesday during the day and the flags will be lowered to half mast.
Charles Michel denounced « cowardly and cowardly violence », while French President, Emmanuel Macron, expressed the « solidarity of the French people towards the Belgian people », after this « terrible attack ».
The emotion is all the more acute in the Walloon city since it was the scene of a shooting in 2013. A man, Nordine Amrani, shot dead six people and wounded 130 others before killing himself. The well-known criminal and gun fanatic, had stationed himself in a square in the centre of the city and fired on passers-by.