Belgian shooter linked to murder before attack

Brussels, May 30: The man who shot dead two police officers and a civilian in the Belgian city of Liege had killed someone before the attacks, the country’s Interior Minister said on Wednesday. Minister Jan Jambon said the gunman, named as Benjamin Herman, had killed another person the night before the attack, a man believed to be a heroin user whose body was found early Tuesday at his home in the eastern village of On, the BBC reported. Hours later, the attacker stabbed two police officers from behind, took their firearms, and shot them and a civilian.

The attacker then ran into a nearby school and took a woman hostage before he was killed during a rescue operation mounted by special forces. Police sources quoted in local media said the man was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic). Jambon said the hostage, believed to be a cleaner, prevented more deaths by talking the gunman around. Belgian authorities launched a terror investigation and were also probing why Herman was allowed temporary leave from prison. The 36-year-old had a lengthy criminal record including theft, assault and drug charge convictions and had been flagged in three reports on radicalism. Belgium did not raise its terror threat level following the attacks, described by Jambon as an “isolated case”. (IANS)