Around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a man armed with grenades and an assault rifle killed three people in an attack on a central square in Liege, Belgium, one of the country's major cities. Dozens more are reported injured.
Many of the casualties had been passing through the city's central Place Saint Lambert at the time of the attacker struck the busy square. The square is the site of major regional transit hub, with hundreds of buses traveling through it each day.
The busy city center was even fuller than usual for the holiday shopping season, and a popular Christmas market is located nearby that attacts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Television images showed blood splattered on the cobblestones of Place Saint Lambert square.
Passersby reportedly fled the scene to nearby stores or barricaded themselves inside the neighboring archaeology museum. Police quickly sealed much of the city center, with shops closing and bus traffic coming to a halt.
Initial reports of the attack had been conflicting on Tuesday, but city officials provided new details at a press conference late in the afternoon. A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor stated that four people had been killed in the attack, including the perpetrator. The other victims include two young men aged 15 and 17 and a 75-year-old woman.
75 Reported Injured
Officials confirmed 75 people had been injured in the attacks. Others reported that a local hospital is trying to save the life of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl critically injured in the attack.
Prosecutors are denying reports from earlier in the day that at least two perpetrators had been involved. They said they believed the crime had been committed by a single individual and there were no suspicions of any accomplices.
Belgian officials identified the suspected perpetrator as 33-year-old Norodine Amrani, a man who had served jail time on drugs and weapons charges. The Liege resident had reportedly been asked to come for an interview at a police station on Tuesday for questions pertaining to charges against him.
Police and emergency medical personnel are at the scene and a security perimeter has been established around the square. A provisional camp has been set up in the neighboring Justice Palace building to care for the injured.
Officials have ruled out any possible terrorist connections to Tuesday's attack.
dsl -- with wire reports
Stay informed with our free news services:
|All news from SPIEGEL International||Twitter | RSS|
|All news from Europe section||RSS|
ę SPIEGEL ONLINE 2011
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH