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4 dead in a shooting in Belgium

Three people, including two policemen were shot dead in Liège on Tuesday before the attacker was shot dead by Belgian police. Two other people were also wounded, while a woman who was taken hostage would have come out safe and sound. It could be a terrorist act.

The shooting took place in the middle of the morning near the Cafe des Augustins, at the corner of the Rue des Augustins and Boulevard d’Avroy, in the city center of Liege, a city of about 200 000 inhabitants located about 100 kilometers south-east of the capital, Brussels.

According to the daily Le Soir, the attacker managed to disarm a policeman who had arrested him for a routine check before opening fire. He reportedly killed two policemen and a passer-by before heading to the Léonie de Waha Athenaeum, a nearby primary and secondary school. There, he would have taken a housekeeper hostage.

The circumstances in which the man was finally shot by the anti-smuggling platoon of the Liège police remain unclear. According to Le Soir, the housekeeper is safe and the school students never have contact with the shooter.

The Liège public prosecutor’s office has already indicated that the investigation was entrusted to the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for terrorism. “There are elements that go in the direction of a terrorist act,” said a spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt.

Police and armed forces have been on alert in Belgium since attacks claimed by the Islamic State armed group have committed attacks that have left 32 dead at Zaventem airport and at the Maelbeek metro station, Brussels, March 22, 2016.

Liège is located about thirty kilometers west of Verviers, where a terrorist cell that was preparing to carry out attacks against police officers was dismantled in January 2015.

More details will follow.

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