Don't miss




Mashujaa day: Kenyatta and Odinga call for peace before election rerun

Read more


Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

Read more


The new 30s club: NZ's Jacinda Ardern joins list of maverick leaders

Read more


Raqqa, Kirkuk, Xi Jinping

Read more


The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

Read more

#TECH 24

Teaching maths with holograms

Read more


Is China exporting its pollution?

Read more

#THE 51%

Are female empowerment adverts actually good for the cause?

Read more


The mixed legacy of 'Abenomics' in Japan

Read more


Lone attacker kills four in Belgian city of Liège

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-14

A lone gunman died after killing four people and injuring more than 100 others in an attack on a crowded square in the Belgian city of Liège on Tuesday. Police said Nordine Amrani had a criminal background but was not known for mental instability.

AFP - Nordine Amrani, the lone-wolf gunman who died after killing four people including a baby in a crowded Belgian square Tuesday, had a long criminal record but not one of mental instability.

The 33-year-old Amrani was well known to police before he went on the rampage in the eastern Belgian city of Liege, opening fire on families shopping for Christmas and youths leaving end-of-year school exams, also wounding more than 100 others before his own demise.

He had previously been convicted for drug dealing and illegal arms possession, as well as for holding stolen goods and other crimes, said Daniele Reynders, the public prosecutor for Liege.

All told, he had racked up around 20 brushes with Belgian law enforcement, an official source told AFP.

In September 2008 he was thrown behind bars for 58 months when police uncovered a weapons arsenal in his home.

They foung 10 firearms and 9,500 gun parts along with 2,800 cannabis plants, but a prison official said Amrani was granted parole in October last year.

A weapons aficionado, he was said to be able to dismantle, repair and put together all sorts of weapons but was never linked to any terrorist act or network.

Sources told AFP that the prison service, a national terror threat-assessment agency and the interior ministry had each been aware of his record.

However Reynders, who will face Belgian and international media at a 9:00 am (0800 GMT) press conference, said there had never been the slightest hint that Amrani was unbalanced.

"At no moment in any of the judicial proceedings against him was there a sign of unbalance," she said Tuesday.

Amrani had been summoned by police in the morning but never showed up.

Instead he left his Liege home in the morning with his backpack and arms, a light automatic rifle, a hand-gun and several grenades.

He headed for the city's central Saint-Lambert square, crammed with children and Christmas shoppers, and set up his gear on the roof of a popular bakery chain, Le Point Chaud.

With a bird's eye view of the square, he hurled three grenades into the crowd, the prosecutor said, before opening fire.

How exactly he died was not immediately clear, with discrepancies between witness claims he turned his revolver on himself and others suggesting one of his grenades appeared to explode prematurely.

"The inquiry will determine whether he acted deliberately or whether the equipment he was carrying caused his death," Reynders said.

Some initial reports said the shooting, around noon on Saint-Lambert square, home to the courthouse and located near the busy Christmas market in the town of 196,000 people, was a foiled bid to rescue a suspect from the courthouse.

But an official with Belgium's national crisis centre said any link with ongoing judicial investigations had been ruled out.

The gunman's van was found on the square.

Date created : 2011-12-13


    Political crisis nears an end as new PM, cabinet named

    Read more

  • Belgium

    Belgians stage mass protest against austerity measures

    Read more