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British oil executive slain in Brussels street

Belgian prosecutors Friday named the victim as Nicholas Mockford, 60, who worked for ExxonMobil.

He was set upon after leaving an Italian restaurant in the suburb of Neder-Over-Heembeek, with his Belgian wife, who was also attacked.

The incident was not reported earlier due to a news blackout, the Belgian authorities said.

Earlier Friday, the Foreign Office confirmed that a British national had been killed in the Belgian capital, and that his family had been granted consular assistance.

“We are shocked by the tragic death of one of our employees,” a spokesman for ExxonMobil said. The firm said that Mockford was a department manager at its offices near Brussels.

“But we have no indication that the incident was work related,” said the statement.” No further comment could be made due to the ongoing police investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office said the victim was hit by three bullets.

“For now, all possibilities are being considered,” Genevieve Seressia told the German news agency dpa. “We are looking in all directions.”

She said there were two suspects wearing motorcycle helmets who fled on a motorbike or scooter.

The wife was “violently attacked” and told investigators that the suspects demanded to have her bag, so a purse-snatching is not being ruled out.

But the possibility of a car-jacking also is still on the table, the spokeswoman said..

The Belgian news agency Belga said investigators also were working on the theory that the attackers wanted to steal the luxury car or the valuables inside it.

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