“Prime Minister Charles Michel has acknowledged the assailant, who had a lengthy criminal record that included theft, assault and drug offenses, had appeared indirectly in three reports on radicalism but was still allowed to take a leave from prison.”
Michel should be forced to resign in disgrace, but of course he will not be. Still, what is the point of these “reports on radicalism” if nothing is done to stop the “radicals”?
Meanwhile, note the three photos of weeping police officers in the MailOnline article. I understand their mourning the deaths of their colleagues, but in public it would be preferable for police officers, rather than dissolving in tears, to project a steely resolve. Jihadis in Belgium, and there are many, will see their tears as weakness, and step up their activities. But steely resolve appears to be in extremely short supply in today’s multicultural Europe.
“Tearful police mourn slain colleagues of Belgian terrorist as it’s revealed murderer’s fourth victim was ex cellmate he clubbed to death ‘after they carried out a jewellery robbery together’ hours before Liege bloodbath,” by Julian Robinson, MailOnline, May 30, 2018:
A terrorist who slaughtered three people on the streets of Liege while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ had clubbed his ex cellmate to death a day before the bloodbath after the pair carried out a robbery, it has been claimed.
The attacker, named as Benjamin Herman, knifed police officer Lucile Garcia, 54, and her colleague Soraya Belkacemi, 45, from behind before using their guns to shoot them dead.
Herman then shot 22-year-old teacher Cyril Vangriecken and took two women hostage inside a school before being killed in a dramatic shoot-out with police. A Belgian federal magistrate said today the Liege attacks are considered ‘terrorist murder’ and the investigation now centres on whether the suspect acted alone.
Herman, 31, is also suspected of murdering a former cellmate, named in Belgian media as Michaël W, 30. Nieuwsblad reports that Michaël W had been Herman’s accomplice in a robbery on Monday night but was later found dead in the district of Marche-en-Famenne, 40 miles from Liege, having been hit on the head with a blunt instrument.
Herman, 31, was on a 48-hour release from prison when he carried out the rampage on Tuesday. Having been in jail since 2003, it was the 14th occasion he had been given temporary leave ahead of his planned ‘reintegration into society’ in 2020.
As questions remained this morning over what was known about Herman’s radicalisation, devastated officers gathered to mourn the deaths of their fallen colleagues. Tearful police officers stood for a moment of silence near the City Hall in Liege.
Prime Minister Charles Michel has acknowledged the assailant, who had a lengthy criminal record that included theft, assault and drug offenses, had appeared indirectly in three reports on radicalism but was still allowed to take a leave from prison.
The prime minister added, however, that the reference was ‘in notes that did not primarily target him, but others or other situations,’ and he was not on a list of suspects maintained by the main OCAD anti-terror assessment group.
Justice Minister Koen Geens defended the decision to grant the attacker prison leave, saying there was no reason to suspect this time would be a different from his earlier furloughs.
‘I don’t think those are mistakes,’ he said. ‘It is not a clear cut case of radicalisation – otherwise he would have been flagged by all services.’
However, this morning, a Belgian security source told Reuters that the attacker had converted to Islam while in detention and was under suspicion of radicalisation.
In Belgium, a prisoner’s inclusion on a state security list as a suspected radical is not automatically communicated to all police or the prison service, experts say.
The attacker’s profile drew concern about the risk of petty criminals, including those not from Muslim backgrounds, being inspired to Islamist violence while jailed.
Convicts have been behind several recent attacks in Europe. Hundreds of prisoners deemed radical by authorities are due to be released in the coming years, the Belgian parliament warned in a report late last year.
‘They come in as drug dealers and leave as Salafi jihadists,’ a security source said.
‘Is our system working when we see that these kind of people are running free?’ asked vice premier Alexander De Croo, echoing the thoughts of many in a nation where armed police and gun-toting soldiers still patrol the streets in the wake of the March 2016 attacks that left 32 people dead at the Brussels airport and subway system.
Tuesday’s attack happened outside a cafe in the eastern city of Liege when the assailant crept up on the two female officers from behind and stabbed them repeatedly….
The attacker shouted ‘Allahu akbar,’ the Arabic phrase for ‘God is great’, several times during spree before he was shot down by a group of police officers, magistrate Wenke Roggen said.
Ms Roggeen said the attack is being treated as terrorism given the way Herman acted, which she said resembled Islamic State calls to attack police with knives and steal their weapons.
Allied to this is the fact that he yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’, and had been in contact with radicalised people.
Justice Minister Koen Geens described the assailant as a repeat offender who had been incarcerated since 2003 and was due for release in two years….