Shooter opened fire and left the scene, shooting four people
A shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels left three dead and another severely injured on Saturday. (Update: Fourth person has died.)
Three people were killed and another was seriously injured in a shooting Saturday at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, Belgian officials said.
A person arrived by car at the museum in central Brussels, entered and quickly opened fire before leaving the scene, Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet told CNN affiliate Bel RTL.
The circumstances of the shooting have raised suspicions that it may have been an anti-Semitic attack, but no motive has been determined.
The shooter remains at large, and the nation’s terror alert level was raised. Belgian public broadcaster RTBF quoted Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur as saying those killed were two men and a woman, while a man was seriously injured at the museum, which is near the tourist sites.
At a press conference, Milquet said the threat level is highest at locations frequented by the Jewish community. This measure was precautionary, she added.
Other news reports, including a BBC News report, indicated that a possible suspect had been detained, but no additional details had been released at the time of this writing (which was Saturday evening).
While the motive behind Saturday’s attack is not yet known, many immediately condemned what they suspect may have been a targeted act.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the shooting and killing of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday.
He said he shares in the grief of the families of the victims. “This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength,” the Prime Minister said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman blamed anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement for inspiring the attack. Those who call for a boycott against Israel and those who act against Israel in international forums have contributed to this incitement, Liberman said.
“Recent anti-Semitic incidents in Kansas, Toulouse, and this evening in Brussels, should be a flashing warning signal to all those who cooperate with such incitement by rushing to condemn Israel and by comparing building a home for a Jewish family in the land of Israel with the cruel and murderous terrorist activity of anti-Semites,” Liberman said.
Some pointed out that Belgium has struggled with some atmosphere of anti-Semitism in recent years.
From the NY Times:
In a statement, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Union’s executive arm, condemned the assault as “an attack on European values which we cannot tolerate.” Mr. Barroso has repeatedly warned about the danger of extremism from the rise of right-wing nationalists opposed to European integration.
In Belgium and most other European countries, however, anti-Semitism has in recent years been rooted more on the left and in Muslim immigrant communities than on the right, according to a survey last year by a European Union agency that monitors discrimination.
The survey by the Fundamental Rights Agency found that only France and Hungary had higher levels of anti-Semitism than Belgium.
Raya Kalenova, the executive vice president of the European Jewish Congress, a group based in Brussels, said anti-Semitism had grown much worse in Belgium over the past decade, in part because of a rise in hostility toward Israel, and added that the authorities had often ignored the danger.
As is common in such instances however, there has been much speculation in some of the news coverage, as well as conflicting reports, and we really won’t know much more until the investigation reveals more confirmed facts on the matter.
Earlier video report from CNN below.
Update: Closed-Circuit video of the shooting has been released (h/t Blazing Cat Fur):
[Featured image: CNN video]DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.