Fears of a resurgence in violent antisemitism after gunman opens fire killing three and injuring one on eve of elections. Fears of a resurgence in violent antisemitism were raised after an attack at a Jewish museum in the centre of Brussels on Saturday left three people dead and one badly injured.
The attack, on the eve of federal, regional and European parliamentary elections, prompted Belgium to heighten its terror alert level and increase protection at Jewish buildings and the Israeli embassy. Israel said two of the victims were a couple in their 50s from Tel Aviv.
Speaking at the scene of the attack, Joëlle Milquet, the Belgian interior minister, said it was too early to say whether it was an antisemitic attack but the target suggested “there are strong grounds for presuming so”. Belgium’s prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, made an announcement expressing support for the Jewish community. “All Belgians are united,” he said. Police arrested one suspect and were looking for a second.
Witnesses said two people were seen getting out of car parked near the museum. A gunman then opened fire, shooting indiscriminately before getting away. A bystander, Alain Sobotik, said he saw the corpses of a woman and a man just inside the doors of the museum.
Didier Reynders, Belgium’s foreign minister, was at the scene shortly after the shooting. He said he saw people fleeing and heard shots. He then saw “bodies on the ground in pools of blood” and called emergency services.
“It seems that a car was double-parked and that a person went in and came out of the museum after shots were fired,” Reynders said. “You can’t help thinking, when you see a Jewish museum, to think about an antisemitic act, but the investigation will tell more.”
One witness managed to see the licence plate of the vehicle used in the attack, according to Reynders.