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Belgium Shooting: Liège Police Officers Among Dead in Alleged Terror Attack

At least three people, including two policemen and a pedestrian, were killed on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire in the Belgian city of Liège.

Police subsequently killed the gunman in a shootout after he entered a nearby high school and took a woman hostage. It is unclear what the motive behind the shooting was, but it is being investigated as a potential terrorist attack, according to prosecutors. The gunman had reportedly been released from prison on Monday, and police said he may have been radicalized while in jail. Police said they heard the gunman yell “Allahu akbar,” which means "God is great" in Arabic, during the standoff with police.

The country’s interior minister took to Twitter to express his condolences for the victims and their families and pledged that law enforcement would continue to monitor the vicinity, particularly the area near the high school.

"The hostage-taker has been neutralized, the two police officers have died, the passenger of a vehicle passing on the boulevard has also lost their lives. Two other police officers were injured. All children are safe,” the city’s police said in a statement on Facebook.

Belgium has experienced numerous attacks over the past several years. In March 2016, in one of the most deadly incidents, three suicide bombers assaulted the airport and metro stations in the country’s capital, Brussels, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds of others. Investigators also say that Belgium is home to the masterminds of the deadly attack that took place in France in 2015. More young men have traveled from Belgium to fight for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq or Syria than from any other country in Europe.

Some experts say that the country is susceptible to radicalization because Muslim youth there feel marginalized. To fight radicalization, some suggest, Belgium should do more to address discrimination and the lack of economic opportunities among the country’s Muslim youth.

Liège is the third largest city in Belgium. It is a French-speaking city in the country’s east.

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