Nursery knife attacker kills three

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The Independent Online

A knifeman murdered two small children and a carer in an apparently random attack at a Belgium nursery today.

He slashed another 10 people leaving some with serious injuries then calmly cycled away.

Both the dead children were under three years old.

The attacker was arrested shortly afterwards in supermarket near the nursery in Dendermonde 20 miles from Brussels.

Witnesses said the man entered the Fabeltjesland nursery which looks after 18 children and immediately began slashing a knife around.

Prosecutor Christian Du Four said: "We have three people dead and 10 in various hospitals."

He did not identify the suspect, who was injured as police detained him and taken to a nearby hospital.

Reports said the man was a local resident known to police.

The city used a nearby community centre to provide counselling to victims and witnesses.

Veerle Heeren, the social welfare minister for the regional Flemish government, said she would be investigating security at the nursery.

Police said all 10 victims taken to hospital were children.

As sobbing parents rushed to the scene and to hospitals, officials said some of the injured were in serious condition.

"People are totally in shock," said a spokeswoman for the regional government of Flanders. "Nobody would have imagined anyone could do so much harm. There is much grief."

She said the attacker had no connection to the day care centre. Reports said he had a history of mental illness.