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'Radicalized' Gunman in Belgium Kills Three In 'Terrorist' Shooting

Forensic officers investigate the scene of the shooting in Liege on May 29.

A gunman shot dead two police officers and a bystander in the Belgian city of Liege during what officials say was a terrorist attack by a radicalized "lone wolf" just out of prison.

The gunman, who was shot dead after the attack, was identified by public broadcaster RTBF as a 36-year-old petty criminal and drug dealer who had been let out of prison on a day-release release program a day before the May 29 killings.

A Belgian lawmaker said the gunman had been on an antiterrorist police watch list after being radicalized in jail, apparently as a convert to Islam - raising questions about why he apparently was freed unsupervised and expected to return.

Prosecutors said the gunman fled the scene of the shooting, which occurred in central Liege on May 29, and took a cleaning woman hostage at a nearby school before he was shot dead.

Liege Police Chief Christian Beaupere said the gunman's motivation was to "harm police officers, that is to say to harm the institution, the state of Belgium."

Four police officers were injured, three of whom are still in hospital, Beaupere said.

The assailant had fired at police with two service weapons taken from the officers he killed, each of which was loaded with 17 bullets, Beaupere said.

"There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act," said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutors office.

Belgian police and military have been on alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people at Brussels airport and on its subway system in 2016.

Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.

With reporting by AFP and AP
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