A TERRORIST slashed the throats of two policewomen before executing them with their own guns and killing an onlooker hours after being released from jail.
The gunman is understood to have crept up on officers Soraya Belkacemi and Lucile Garcia as they checked parking meters before cutting their throats and stabbing them.
Herman then took the officers' side arms and shot them both in the head with their own weapons in the incident that happened 6.30pm yesterday AEST.
His goal was to "target the police", according to the Liege police chief.
The gunman is understood to have been released from prison the day before he went on the deadly rampage.
During the frenzied attack he shot onlooker Cyril Vangriecken, 22, before taking a female school cleaner hostage and injuring four more cops in a ferocious gunbattle.
Pupils were moved to safety as a gunbattle broke out that sent people in the street racing for cover.
Philippe Dulieu, spokesman for the Liege prosecutor's office, said: "The event is classed as a terrorist incident.
A Belgian politician said he had been on an anti-terrorist police watchlist after being radicalised in jail, apparently as a convert to Islam.
Paris-Match magazine revealed a Koran and prayer rug were found during a search of his cell - and claimed that he was added to a secret police watch of radical prisoners last year.
Politician George Dallemagne, who sits on several Belgian parliamentary security committees, tweeted: "The supervision of radicalised prisoners remains tragically flawed."
RTBF said the attacker was on leave from prison and failed to return to jail on Monday night.
The 36-year-old was known to the police for theft, damage to public property, drug trafficking and was known to be violent.
He is thought to be the prime suspect in a murder that took place just days after he was released from prison.
Michael Wilmet, 30, was shot in the head during a suspected drugs dispute in the town of Marche-en-Famenne, Luxembourg on Monday night.
A police source said: "It may well have been a settling of accounts. At the moment the prime suspect for the murder is Herman."
He was also considered "unstable" and had no contact with his family, it was reported.
RTBF also reported that he is thought to have been "radicalised" in prison.
He managed to disarm one of the officers and opened fire, killing the pair and a woman in a car.
Catherine Collignon, a spokesman for Liege prosecutors said elite officers shot him dead at the school, and two were injured in the process.
"Two officers were hit and then the man went on the run," a local source said.
"He was seen running into the Waha secondary school, where he was said to have taken a female cleaner hostage," the source added.
Minutes later, anti-terrorist special forces police could be seen surrounding the area, which went into lock down.
"The gunman was then neutralised," said the source.
The school students and female hostage were not injured in the attack.
Belgium's anti-terrorist crisis centre was monitoring the situation, Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Twitter.
Two other police officers had been injured, Belga news agency said.
Images on social media showed people scurrying for safety on Liege's central Boulevard d'Avroy with shots and sirens being heard in the background.
One video showed two police in body armour moving into position.
Liege, an industrial city close to the German border in the French-speaking Wallonia region, was also the scene of a shooting in 2011, when a gunman killed four people and wounded over 100 before turning the gun on himself.
Belgium has been on high alert since a Brussels-based Islamic State cell was involved in attacks on Paris in 2015 that killed 130 people and Brussels in 2016 in which 32 died.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.