Belgian mosque firebombed, imam dies

Women mourn outside of a Shi'ite mosque near Brussels on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
AP Photo

Updated 10:00 p.m. ET

(AP) BRUSSELS - A mosque near Brussels was attacked with Molotov cocktails and its imam died trying to extinguish the flames, Belgian newspapers reported late Monday.

Marie Verbeck, a police spokeswoman, confirmed to The Associated Press that the imam had died in the arson attack but did not provide any further details. She said one person had been arrested and no other people were being sought in connection with the attack.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw fire damage and people gathered outside the mosque, some of whom were praying.

The newspaper Le Soir reported that a man entered the Shiite mosque in Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels, shortly before 7 p.m. local time armed with an ax, Molotov cocktails and a can of gasoline. The newspaper reported that the man broke windows, then threw the incendiary devices inside. The attack was also reported by the newspaper De Standaard.

Le Soir said the imam, whom it reported to be 47 years old, died trying to put out the fire. Verbeck said she did not have the name of the imam.