Dutch PM expresses support for Liege; 2 cops, bystander killed in attack

Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Sebastiaan ter Burg)Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Sebastiaan ter Burg)

A man shot and killed two police officers and a passerby in the center of the Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday morning. He then took a cleaner hostage at a nearby school. The gunman was killed by the police. Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his condolences to his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel, he said on Twitter.

The attack happened around 10:30 a.m., according to NU.nl. The man, identified as 36-year-old Benjamin H. from Rochefort by Belgian media, gunned down to police officers and a passerby before running into a nearby school and taking a cleaning lady hostage. After the hostage situation, the shooter ran back out of the school and was shot and killed by police officers. Two more Belgian cops were hurt during the hostage situation. The cleaning lady and the pupils in the school were unharmed. 

The local authorities are investigating. A representative of the Belgian Public Prosecution Service said that there are "indications of terrorism", NU.nl reports. 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his support and condolences to Belgian Prime Minister Michel. "Just conveyed my sympathy to Charles Michel. Terrible events today in Liege, where three innocent people were killed. The Netherlands sympathizes with the victims, surviving relatives and with the Belgian police who have been severely affected", Rutte said on Twitter. Given the events, the Belgian-Dutch government consultations scheduled to happen in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon, were postponed.

Belgian media reports that Benjamin H. left the Latin prion near Liege on Monday afternoon. He was granted temporary leave. According to the media, he is serving a prison sentence for relatively minor offenses like theft.