Woman taken hostage by Liège slayer tells her story

Darifa, the cleaning lady, who was taken hostage at a secondary school in Liège on Tuesday, has given account of her time as a hostage of the Liège shooter Benjamin Herman.

Speaking on the telephone with the Walloon broadcaster RTBF the lady, who is still in shock, described what happened: "I was chatting with a school guard when the school's neighbour fled inside in panic. Girls were screaming too."

Darifa ran towards the doors to close them, but after she managed to close one door she turned only to be faced by the gunman, who had just killed two women police officers and a passer-by. The gunman held two weapons in his hands.

Benjamin Herman asked Darifa whether she was a Muslim and whether she was observing the fast of Ramadan. She answered positively and was told she had nothing to fear.

"I told him he was in the wrong place, that this was a school with many, many children! Using gestures I tried to tell the teachers on the playground they ought to leave but I don't think they got the message."

Herman then targeted the playground with his weapon.

"I started wailing. He told me to stop and to think of my Palestinian and Syrian brothers."

Darifa describes the gunman as "surprisingly calm". He told her: "I'm only here to frighten the police and to show myself to the world."

When Herman noticed he was completely surrounded Darifa showed him the emergency exit. He refused to take it.

He asked Darifa to throw open the door. He shouted at the police telling them to leave and threw down his ID card to show people who he was before storming out to his death.

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