A knife-wielding man stabbed two female police officers in Belgium before taking their handguns and shooting them both in what authorities are investigating as a terror attack.
The attacker, identified as Benjamin Herman by Belgian media, killed the policewomen as well as a 22-year-old man in a passing car before he was fatally shot by authorities Tuesday, said Liege Police Chief Christian Beaupere. Another four officers were wounded in the deadly incident
Beaupere said “the goal of the attacker was to target police.”
Herman allegedly approached the officers from behind and stabbed them several times, disarming them before continuing on his rampage, police spokesman Pihilippe Dulieu said.
Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the shooting as “cowardly and blind violence” in a tweet also offering prayers for all those affected by the incident.
One witness who saw the attack told VTM Nieuws that Herman shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic.
The 36-year-old gunman took a woman hostage in a nearby building before he was shot and killed in a gunfight with responding police, a local prosecutor said at an afternoon press conference.
No injuries were reported to the hostage, who was taken at the Athénée Léonie de Waha high school.
Officials for the Liège province, in the French-speaking part of Belgium, said that students were evacuated and had not been harmed.
Herman had just been temporarily released from a nearby prison on Monday, according to broadcaster RTBF, which reported that he may have been radicalized inside.
The attacker was previously known to police for theft and drug crimes.
Begium have repeatedly come under attack by terrorists in recent years, including 32 victims in March 2016 attacks in Brussels and multiple attacks on Belgian police.