On Tuesday May 29 a convert to Islam named Benjamin Herman attacked two policewomen in the Belgian city of Liège, stabbing them from behind as they were monitoring parking meters. After they were incapacitated he took their guns and shot both of them dead, reportedly yelling “Allahu Akhbar!” during his attack. As a matter of interest, one of the murdered policewomen was named Soraya Belkacemi, which is a Turkish name, if I’m not mistaken.
Mr. Herman then killed a passerby in an attempted carjacking. After failing to make his escape by car, he ran into a nearby school and took a cleaning woman hostage. When he found out she was an observant Muslim, he spared her life. He eventually emerged from the building and was shot to death by police.
The perpetrator had been “known to police” for robbery, drug dealing, etc. He had been in prison, but was out on a one-day release when he committed the murders. The Belgian government has acknowledged that they are investigating the incident as a terrorist act.
The following video features part of an interview with the cleaning woman who was taken hostage by Benjamin Herman. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Below are excerpts from an article about the attack published by The Telegraph:
Belgium Shooting: ‘Radicalised’ Prisoner on Day Release Kills Two Female Police Officers in Liege
A suspected terrorist on day release from prison executed two female police officers with their own guns and shot dead a trainee teacher before he was killed in a shootout after taking two women hostage at a school in the centre of the Belgian city of Liege.
The bloody rampage on Tuesday morning, which left another four officers wounded, was captured on videos on social media, which showed the black clad man waving a pistol in each hand and shouting “Allahu Akbar” before he was gunned down by elite officers. Belgium’s federal prosecutors office has opened an terror investigation into the attack.
The “lone wolf” attacker, 36, was named locally as Benjamin Herman, who was well-known to police for a string of crimes including robbery, assault and drug-dealing and was from Rochefort, a city about an hour from Liege.
One officer was named in local media reports as Soraya Belkacemi, 45, a widowed mother of twins, who are now orphaned. The other was Lucile Garcia, 53, who was described by fellow officers as a “fantastic colleague” who had married her partner a month ago.
Herman was granted temporary release from prison on Monday night until Tuesday, despite a prison service assessment that judged him “ultra-violent” and that he was on a terror watchlist over suspicions he had become radicalised in 2017.
Such “family leave” is meant to help prisoners prepare for their eventual release, which would have been in 2020 in Herman’s case after he had served the sentence he began in 2013. He had been released for two days on 13 previous occasions.
Belgium’s federal prosecutors office has opened an terror investigation into the murders, which come after the country was accused of being a hotbed of extremism after the 2015 Paris attacks, which killed 130 people. and suicide bombings in Brussels in 2016 in which 32 died.
|00:00||Liège attack: “The modus operandi, in particular the attack on police officers, leads to a possible conclusion that it’s a terrorist attack”
When I closed the school door and I turned around,
|00:04||“On his way the attacker yelled ‘Allahu Akhbar’ several times,” declared Belgian federal prosecutor.
I saw the gentleman in front of me.
|00:08||When I looked at him , he said,|
|00:12||The federal prosecutor confirms that the suspect had been in contact with radicalized persons since 2016.
“Look at me,” I looked. And he said, “I’m going to ask you two questions.”
|00:16||“What are you? Are you Muslim?” I said, “Yes”.|
|00:20||“Do you observe Ramadan?” I said, “Yes”. So he told me,|
|00:24||he told me, “I’m not going to do anything to you.”
“The acts have been qualified as terrorist assassinations,” specified the federal prosecutor.
|00:28||“Listen, and I don’t hurt you.” I said, “All right.”|
|00:32||I said, “But listen to me: here you are in a school. You cannot come into schools.”|
|00:36||“The investigation will try to determine if the suspect acted alone,” added the Belgian federal prosecutor.
I said, “It’s not good, what you are doing.”
|00:40||And I started crying. He said,|
|00:44||“No, you shouldn’t cry.” And after that he said,|
|00:48||“I am a Belgian man who converted to Islam.”|
|00:52||He said. I looked at him, and I said to him again|
|00:57||“If you want, we can leave together and you surrender.”|
|01:01||“It’s better that way; either you surrender or we will both be killed.”|
|01:05||He said, “No”. He said,|
|01:09||“They cannot shoot at us, because|
|01:13||you are with me,” — that I am a hostage.|
|01:17||So afterwards he told me to open the door, so I opened the door,|
|01:21||and he opened it a little and told me to tell the police to leave. I told the police to leave.|
|01:25||But they didn’t listen. So we closed the door.|
|01:29||And for the second time we opened the door again, and he threw out his ID.|
|01:33||and then the third time,|
|01:34||ISIS is claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack in Liège, which resulted in three deaths (propaganda agency).|
|01:38||then he got out, and I left, and then|
|01:42||there were rifles, and they killed him afterwards.