Deadly Belgium attack was act of terrorism, prosecutors say

Police at the scene of the shooting in Liege

He stabbed them repeatedly from behind with a knife before taking a gun from them and opening fire.

Belgian authorities also faced questions over why a potentially radicalized prisoner was granted temporary release on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

A source said Herman, born in 1982, had past convictions for robbery, violence and drug dealing and may have been radicalised in prison. The suspect was shot dead by police.

The 29-year-old was killed by police in the attack, which left two female police officers and one bystander dead.

Herman had permission to leave the jail Monday but was due to return Tuesday evening, prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said.

"They reacted well. All the systems, all the procedures worked".

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The man who killed three people during a knife and shooting rampage through the Belgian city of Liege carried out an act of "terrorist murder", prosecutors said yesterday, as authorities tried to establish whether he had acted alone. Four officers were wounded. She was released when police shot the 36-year-old attacker dead.

He said the policewomen were aged 45 and 53, the latter a mother of twins.

"He committed the attack in response to [our] calls to target the countries of the coalition", the terrorist group said in the statement, referring to the global armed forces who have been fighting the group in Syria.

The assailant reportedly crept up on them with a knife, stabbed them first before taking their service weapons and fatally shot them and a bystander, who was sitting inside a parked vehicle.

A 22-year-old man who was in the passenger seat of a auto parked nearby was also fatally shot. The attacker was later killed by police.

The prosecutors, during the investigation, revealed that the shooter, identified as Benjamin Herman, was also an accused in a previous murder case.

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Information for this article was contributed by Milan Schreuer of The New York Times; and by Lorne Cook, Sylvain Plazy and Raf Casert of The Associated Press.

"There is absolutely no confirmation yet that the incident is terror-related", Stevens told the AP. He fled the building while firing the weapon, injuring two more police officers, before being shot to death.

Belgium was then hit by its own IS suicide attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people.

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

Adding further evidence of an Islamist motive, a school cleaning woman who was briefly held by Herman told public broadcaster RTBF that he assured her he would do her no harm as she was a Muslim and told her to spare her tears for Palestinians and Syrians.

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