The death toll from yesterday’s grenade attack at a Christmas market in Liege, Belgium, rose to six, including the killer himself.
According to Belgian police, the body of a woman was found at an address used by the gunman Nordine Amrani.
Nordine Amrani, 32, was armed with grenades and an assault rifle when he attacked holiday shoppers at Place Saint-Lambert in Liege.
Attacker’s victims included two teenage boys aged 15 and 17, a 75-year-old woman and an 18-month-old baby, who died in hospital last night. A total of 122 were also wounded.
Prosecutor Cedric Visart de Bocarme told Belgian La Premiere radio station that the woman – a 45-year-old cleaner – had been found in a warehouse used by Nordine Amrani.
Cedric Visart de Bocarme said: “A search last night revealed in a warehouse used by the attacker, notably to grow cannabis, the body of a woman killed by the attacker.”
Nordine Amrani, who was previously jailed for possession of arms and drugs offences, hurled grenades and sprayed bullets into crowds of Christmas shoppers and children in Place Saint-Lambert.
The attack paralyzed the centre of Belgium’s fifth largest city, with workers trapped in offices as police sealed off the area. It is still unclear what drove Nordine Amrani to carry out the attack.
The shoppers, many of them children, ran screaming for safety in the panic as the gunman opened fire.
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.
Reports said Nordine Amrani used an FN FAL automatic rifle, a Belgian-made rifle capable of firing 700 rounds a minute, a pistol and threw three grenades in the attack.
In the initial chaos, reports said up to three men had taken part in the attack, but the Interior Ministry later confirmed only one was involved, adding the incident was not terrorism-related.
Nordine Amrani was on his way for police questioning when he attacked a crowd near a bus stop at Place Saint Lambert, a central shopping square which is the site of the city’s Christmas market and its main courthouse. It was not clear whether he committed suicide or died accidentally.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo expressed horror at the attack and travelled to the city. The nation’s King and Queen also arrived on the city this evening to visit survivors.
Interior Ministry official Peter Mertens said emergency medical teams were called in from as far away as the Netherlands.
The broadcaster Radio Television Belge Francophone said during the attack 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.
Police helicopters were 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.
Place Saint-Lambert is a busy crossroads. Every day 1,800 buses serve the square, which leads to downtown shopping streets.
The Place Saint-Lambert and the nearby Place du Marche host Liege’s annual Christmas market which consists of 200 retail cabins and attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.