Liege prepares to march for attack victims

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Liege prepares to march for attack victims

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The first funeral ceremony has been held for a victim of Tuesday’s gun and grenade attack in the Belgian city of Liege.

15-year-old Mehdi Belhadj, known as ‘Nathan’, was the son of a Belgian mother and a Tunisian father and was buried according to Islamic rites. The boy died instantly as he waited for a bus.

Saturday will see another funeral for a 17-month-old baby who died in the attack, while a solemn march is planned for the five people killed and 120 wounded.

The death of Nathan and the others have brought calls for tighter gun controls and for better monitoring of convicted offenders.

Mohamed Belhadj, Nathan’s father, said he had not switched on the TV or radio for three or four days. “I just want the law to tell me why Nordine Amrani had weapons,” he said.

The killer, who committed suicide, had already spent three years in jail for drugs and firearms offences.

One of the organisers of Saturday’s march is a former member of a far right party, according to Belgian media.

Amid fears that extremists might seek to hijack events, the country’s new prime minister Elio Di Rupo has spoken of solidarity and respect.

Next Tuesday he will attend an official ceremony for the victims at the scene of the attack in the Place Saint-Lambert, exactly a week after it happened.