2011 Liège attack

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2011 Liège attack
20100722 liege13.JPG
The bus shelter on Saint-Lambert Square, Liège. The killer was standing and killed himself on the platform on the right.
Location Liège, Belgium
Coordinates 50°38′42″N 5°34′23″E / 50.645°N 5.573°E / 50.645; 5.573
Date Tuesday, December 13, 2011
12:33 (CET) (UTC+01:00)
Target Civilians
Attack type
Mass shooting, murder–suicide
Weapons
Deaths 7 (including the perpetrator)[1]
Non-fatal injuries
125
Perpetrator Nordine Amrani[2]

On December 13, 2011, a murder–suicide attack took place in the city of Liège in the Wallonia region of Belgium.[3]

The attacker, 33-year-old Nordine Amrani,[4][5] threw grenades and fired an FN FAL[6] rifle at civilians on Saint-Lambert Square. The attack killed six and left 125 others injured; seven of whom suffered serious injuries. Amrani then committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver. Earlier that day, he had also murdered a woman in his house.

The attack occurred on the same day as the 2011 Florence shootings.

Attack[edit]

The attack took place on December 13, 2011, at 12:33 local time (11:33 UTC) in Saint-Lambert Square, home to the town's courthouse. It was a busy day with many shoppers in the nearby Christmas market.

Witnesses reported four explosions and gunfire. At first, it was believed that there were two or more assailants, who threw stun grenades into the courthouse while another hurled them at a bus shelter. The gunman then fired shots with a 7.62mm FN FAL from the rooftop of a bakery shop, located across the square.[3] Police were on the scene quickly and sealed off the square.[7]

Amrani killed five people in the attack and wounded 125 others, seven seriously. After that, Amrani committed suicide by shooting himself with a Smith & Wesson M57 .41 Magnum revolver.[8] Two of the dead were teenage boys aged 15 and 17. A 17-month-old boy died later in a hospital.[9] A 75-year-old woman died from her injuries two days after the attack.[5][10] A fifth victim, who had been in an induced coma since the attack, died of head injuries on December 23.[11]

Victims[edit]

  • Antonietta Racano, 45, died at Amrani's apartment on December 13
  • Mehdi Belhadj, 15, died at Saint-Lambert Square on December 13
  • Pierre Gérouville, 17, died at Saint-Lambert Square on December 13
  • Gabriël Leblond, 1, died at a hospital on December 13
  • Claudette Putzeys, 75, died at a hospital on December 15
  • Laurent Kremer, 20, died at a hospital on December 23

Perpetrator[edit]

Nordine Amrani

Nordine Amrani was born in Ixelles/Elsene in Brussels, Belgium on 15 November 1978. He was a French-speaking Belgian of Moroccan origin and a welder by trade.[12] According to Amrani's lawyer, he could not speak Arabic nor was he Muslim.[13] Amrani was known to have an interest in guns, with a history of convictions for possession of weapons.[14]

He grew up near Brussels, and was living with his fiancée, a care home nurse.[15] Orphaned early, he was raised in foster homes.[16][17]

Amrani had been released from prison in October 2010. He had been convicted to a 58-month (4 years, 10 months) sentence he received from a Liège court in 2008. The conviction was for possession of thousands of weapons parts, almost 10,000 rounds of ammo, dozens of weapons, including a rocket launcher, assault and sniper rifles, as well as 2,800 cannabis plants, in the context of a criminal conspiracy (association de malfaiteurs). He also had convictions for handling stolen goods and sex offences but had no known links to terror groups.[15] On the day of the attack, Amrani had been summoned for an interview with the police to answer questions about a sexual abuse case.[16]

Before the attack, Amrani transferred money from his account to that of his girlfriend. On the morning of the attack, Amrani killed a 45-year-old woman in his apartment. The victim was working as a cleaner for Amrani's neighbour. He possibly lured her into his flat under the pretext of offering her work. After the murder, he hid her body in his shed, then left his flat for the city centre, equipped with a backpack containing the weapons.[18]

Reaction[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Recently appointed Prime Minister of Belgium Elio Di Rupo visited the location of the attack later in the day and described the attack as "horrible". He added, "The whole country shares the pain of the families affected. We share the shock of the population."[19][20][21] The King of the Belgians, Albert II was shocked and visited Liège on the same day, along with Queen Paola. Their majesties were received by the Governor, the Prime Minister and the Lord Mayor of Liège. The Duke of Brabant, prince Philippe honoured the victims in a public ceremony later.[22] In the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium a minute of silence was held in honour of the victims.

Willy Demeyer, the mayor of Liège, condemned the attack and said the attack had "sown sorrow in the heart of the city".[19]

International[edit]

Condolences were expressed by the governments of Australia,[23] Estonia,[24] Latvia,[25] Lithuania,[26] Luxembourg,[27] Singapore[28] and the United Kingdom.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Five deaths of the attack itself; one victim of the murder preceding the attack, plus the suicide of the attacker.
  2. ^ "Fusillade à Liège: quatre morts, dont l'auteur - RTBF Regions". RTBF. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Belgium grenade attack kills two". Telegraph.co.uk. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "L'info sur RTBF - Régions". RTBF. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Liège : 4 morts et des dizaines de blessés (live)" (in French). lesoir.be. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  6. ^ e-TF1 (13 December 2011). "Quatre morts et 75 blessés dans une fusillade à Liège - Vidéo replay du journal televise : Le journal de 20h - TF1". Videos.tf1.fr. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Belgium attack: grenades thrown at bus-stop in Liège - live updates". Guardian.co.uk. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Vier doden en 64 gewonden bij bloedige aanslag Luik". Algemeen Dagblad. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Liège attack: Gunman kills three in Belgium". Matt Cole. BBC News, Liège. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Vijfde slachtoffer van schietpartij is overleden". deredactie.be. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Zesde slachtoffer van Nordine Amrani overleden, De Standaard (December 23, 2011)
  12. ^ "Profile: Liege mass killer Nordine Amrani". BBC News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Waterfield, Bruno (14 December 2011). "Liege attacks: Belgian gunman Nordine Amrani had 'grudge against society'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Profile: Liege mass killer Nordine Amrani". BBC News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Liege maniac left 'I love you' note for his girl". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  16. ^ a b Belgian Gunman, Long in Trouble With Law, Killed Before Rampage
  17. ^ Waterfield, Bruno. "Liege attacks: Belgian gunman Nordine Amrani had 'grudge against society'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  18. ^ "Liege attacks: body found at home of Belgium gunman". Telegraph.co.uk. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Liège attack: Belgian police search for gunman motive". BBC. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Vier doden na aanslag met granaten in centrum van Luik, 75 mensen gewond". De Morgen. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Liège : 4 morts et des dizaines de blessés (live)". lesoir.be. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  22. ^ "Koning en premier Di Rupo bezoeken plaats van aanslag Luik" (in Dutch). clint.be. 
  23. ^ "Gillard offers condolences over shooting". ninemsn. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "President Offers Condolences to Wounded Belgium | News | ERR". News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Developed by mendo. "Latvijas Republikas Saeima - Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa conveys condolences to Belgium". Saeima.lv. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  26. ^ "Lithuanian Foreign Minister Sends Condolences Over the Armed Attack in the Belgian City of Liège". Topix. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  27. ^ "Gunman leaves no clues to what sparked killings". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  28. ^ "PM Lee sends condolences to Belgium". Channel NewsAsia. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  29. ^ Location Settings (15 December 2011). "Belgian gunman offered no explanation". News24. Retrieved 15 December 2011.