A man with a painted white face and blackened eyes pushed into a Belgian nursery today and slaughtered two children and one adult with a knife, according to various media reports.
The attack, 20 miles northwest of Brussels near the town of Dendermonde, also wounded ten more children.
Agence France Presse described the nightmarish events:
The man, who had his face painted black and white, rang the doorbell at the The Country of Fables day-care center around 10:00 am (0900 GMT). When staff opened the door he barged in and ran amok...
"The guy just went crazy," Theo Janssens, the Dendermonde deputy mayor for social matters said. Three adults were injured as they tried to get between the attacker and the children, he told AFP.
"There was blood everywhere, it was unbelievable, real carnage."
Janssens, tears in his eyes, said: "He went straight for the babies and attacked them."
"The smallest ones were in their beds, they were probably asleep."
He said three of the injured had suffered life-threatening wounds.
"An act of great brutality has happened here against our weakest citizens," said Mayor Buyse Piet. "The whole city is united in support for the parents who are in deep grief."
The man, which some media report was a local resident a history of mental illness, was arrested at a nearby supermarket after fleeing the scene on a bicycle, according to the Associated Press.
Local journalist Bart Bekaert told CNN that the school had no security.
Jan Kerkhofs, deputy prosecutor for Dendermonde, said there were no security systems at the school, telling CNN.com, "It is not like a prison."