Four die in Belgian grenade attack


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The Independent Online

A convicted criminal attacked a crowded Belgian Christmas market with guns and grenades killing three people in an apparently random attack before shooting himself today.

Shoppers fled in terror as Norodine Amrani, 33, opened fire at the Place Saint-Lambert in the centre of Liege.

A boy of 15, a 17-year-old girl and a 75-year-old woman died and at least 75 other people were injured including a two-year-old girl who was clinging to life.

Amrani's motive remained a mystery, but he was known to police for gun, drugs and sex offences and was due to attend a police station for questioning when he launched the attack.

Amid the chaos initial reports said three gunmen were responsible, but the Belgian Interior Ministry and prosecutors confirmed it was one man and there was no terrorist link.

Amrani left his home in Liege with a backpack, armed with hand grenades, a revolver and an FAL assault rifle, prosecutors said.

He walked alone to the central square. From a rooftop walkway, he lobbed three hand grenades towards a bus shelter, then he opened fire.

He still had grenades on him when his body was found.

The Place Saint-Lambert and the nearby Place du Marche host the Liege's annual Christmas market which consists of 200 retail cabins and attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.