Islamic State claims Belgian attack as city mourns

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LIEGE, Belgium/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Islamic State claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an attack the previous day in the Belgian city of Liege in which two policewomen and a bystander were killed, but provided no proof.

The militant group said in an online statement that a “soldier of the caliphate” carried out what Belgian police called a terrorist attack. It has previously claimed similar “lone wolf” acts thought to be Islamist-inspired, often without providing evidence.

Belgian authorities meanwhile faced questions over why the attacker, a prison inmate who was suspected of links to radical Islamists in jail, was let out for a day. He was shot dead by police at a school near the scene.

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Interior Minister Jan Jambon said authorities were still examining the motives of Benjamin Herman, a 31-year-old Belgian drug dealer who had been in jail for years but was let out for two days on Monday to prepare for an eventual release in 2020.

He also appeared to follow online exhortations from Islamic State to stab police officers and use their service weapons to shoot others, prosecutors said.

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