An armed gang was still on the loose yesterday after killing up to four people with grenades and guns in an apparently random attack on a Christmas market in the Belgian city of Liege. It is widely reported that one attacker has died.
Chaos and panic: The emergency services were on the scene
minutes after the attack and cordoned off the area. Pic/AFP
Men, women and children fled down the streets of the city centre -- some still carrying shopping bags -- as ambulances and police descended on the area. Belgian media are reporting that 64 people have also been injured. The man attacked a crowd near a bus stop at Place Saint Lambert. It was not clear how the attacker had died.
Gaspard Grosjean, a witness, said, "We saw people with bullet wounds in their shoulders, their hands," he said, adding that he had seen one dead body. "I saw people completely scared, people are crying, everyone is on their phones." Interior Ministry official Peter Mertens confirmed the attack in the city and said emergency medical teams were called in from as far away as the Netherlands.
The broadcaster Radio Television Belge Francophone said that all buses had been asked to leave the city centre and all shops in the area were closed, some with many customers stranded inside. It said police helicopters are flying over the city and a medical post has been set up in the courtyard of the palace of the Prince Bishops (the court house) located on the site.
Police were on the scene quickly and sealed off the square. TV images showed blood splattered across the cobblestones. Valerie Schaaps, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors office in Brussels, confirmed there had been explosions and gunfire, causing injuries. Every day 1,800 buses serve the square, which leads to downtown shopping streets.