Four die in Belgium grenade attack

A man armed with grenades and an assault rifle has attacked shoppers in the Belgian city of Liege, leaving four people dead and wounding 123 others.

The attack ignited a stampede, as hundreds fled the explosions and bullets in the busy Place Saint-Lambert.

Interior Ministry official Peter Mertens said the attack did not involve terrorism.

The attacker was identified as Norodine Amrani, 33, a Liege resident who had served jail sentences for offences involving guns, drugs and sex abuse.

He was among the dead, but it was unclear if he committed suicide or died by accident. He was not killed by police.

The dead included two teenage boys, aged 15 and 17, and a 75-year-old woman. A two-year-old girl is reported to be fighting for her life.

Amrani had been summoned for police questioning on Tuesday but the reason for the questioning is not clear. He still had a number of grenades with him when he died.

He left his home in Liege with a backpack, armed with hand grenades, a revolver and an assault rifle. He walked alone to the central square, then got on to a platform that gave him a view of the square below, with a huge Christmas tree and crowded with shoppers.

From there, Amrani lobbed three hand grenades towards a bus shelter, which serves 1,800 buses a day, then opened fire on the crowd. The explosions sent glass from the bus shelter across a wide area.

As police hunted for possible accomplices, residents were ordered to stay in their homes or seek shelter in shops or public buildings. Police closed off the area but found no accomplices and calm returned after a few hours.