January 23, 2009 / 1:25 PM / in 10 years

Knife attacker kills three in Belgian nursery

Experts walk out of a creche in which the knife attack occurred in Dendermonde January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

DENDERMONDE, Belgium (Reuters) - A man with a white painted face and blackened eyes stabbed to death two infants and a woman and injured 13 at a nursery in western Belgium on Friday before cycling away.

Eleven children and two female staff were being treated at local hospitals, authorities said. The suspected attacker was detained soon afterwards at a local shop.

The assailant arrived at the day care center in Dendermonde, 30 km (20 miles) west of Brussels, at around 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) saying he wanted to ask a question, but then ran into two rooms to attack his victims.

There were 18 children and six adults in the creche at the time of the attack.

The man cycled away but was arrested about 90 minutes later, police said.

Senior magistrate Christian Du Four told a news conference that the man was a 20 year-old Belgian from the region.

Contrary to Belgian media reports, the man was not a psychiatric patient, Du Four said.

The attacker, who is still being questioned, will be charged with murder.

“He has not said anything about what has happened. He was in any case not under the influence of drugs or other intoxicating substances at the time of the stabbing,” De Four said. (Additional reporting by Anne Jolis and Philip Blenkinsop; writing by Mark John; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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