ISIS terrorist group claims responsibility for the Liege shooting
The terrorist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s deadly shooting in the Belgian city of Liege.
The shooter, identified by Belgian authorities as Benjamin Herman, was a “solider of the Islamic State,” the militant group’s Amaq news agency claimed late Wednesday through a statement released via the messaging app Telegram, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist organizations.
Herman, who has shot dead after killing two police women and a bystander, had served several prison sentences since 2003 for violent robbery and assault, drug offenses and arson. Belgian Interior Minister Jean Jambon confirmed Wednesday that the shooter also murdered a 30-year-old former convict the night before the shooting.
“He committed the attack in response to [our] calls to target the countries of the coalition,” the terrorist group said in the statement, referring to the international armed forces who have been fighting the group in Syria.
Prior to the attacks, Herman was granted a 36-hour prison leave as part of preparations for his eventual release in 2020. Belgian authorities, which are investigating the killings as a potential terrorist incident, have said Herman may have been radicalized in prison through contact with other inmates.
The group’s claim over the attack “could be merely opportunistic,” Belgian media cautioned, as the ongoing investigation has not so far established any direct links between Herman and the terrorist organization.
Belgian outlet Le Soir reported Thursday that a report drafted by a prison guard a few days before the attack warned Herman had befriended a radicalized inmate known to be an accomplice of the suicide bomber behind the Brussels terror attacks in 2016.