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Brussels: The discovery of body parts in a fridge found floating in a canal has triggered a murder investigation in Belgium, prosecutors said Wednesday.

"The most important thing now is to identify the victim to make possible links to missing persons cases," a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office in the city of Liege, Catherine Collignon, told AFP.

A local of the eastern city raised the alarm after spotting the refrigerator bobbing in the canal in a northern suburb, Hermalle-sous-Argenteau, according to local media.

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Police dragged it ashore and opened it to find its grisly contents - "two arms and two legs", according to Collignon.

The remains appeared to be that of a woman, based on the fingernails and some jewellery.

The investigation will seek to determine if the fridge was dumped in the canal from a car, a bridge or a boat.

The wide canal carries riverboats and runs all the way from the northern port of Antwerp to Liege.