Israelis among dead in Brussels shooting

2014-05-25 10:47
Benjamin Netanyahu. (Picture: AP)

Benjamin Netanyahu. (Picture: AP)

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Brussels - Two Israeli tourists were among the victims of a shooting at Brussels' Jewish Museum, Israeli authorities have confirmed, as Belgium on Sunday continued a manhunt for the perpetrator.

The death toll rose to four overnight after a critically wounded man died, local media reported. The RTBF broadcaster identified him as a museum employee who was manning the reception area. The fourth victim, a woman, was a museum volunteer, Belgian media said.

The Israeli victims were a couple from Tel Aviv, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Paul Hirschson told dpa. The victims were shot in the area of the face and throat, RTBF and the newspaper Le Soir reported.

Investigators have been examining whether Saturday's attack was motivated by anti-Semitism. In Israel, the shooting is being described as a "terrorist attack".

"This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released on Saturday evening. "Slander and lies against the state of Israel continue to be heard on European soil."

Belgians shocked

Belgian police had detained one man on Saturday, but later determined that he was only a witness. Investigators were pursuing a lead that the suspect may have fled on foot, RTBF reported.

Authorities said that footage from nearby cameras was being examined. The incident occurred around 15:50 local time (1350 GMT) in a busy area of central Brussels. Security has since been tightened at other Jewish religious and cultural sites.

"Everything is being done to identify and apprehend the perpetrator or perpetrators of this tragedy," the Belgian government said in a statement on Saturday.

The attack shocked Belgians a day before they were due to head to the polls for parliamentary and European elections. Concerns have been rife that the European vote will deliver gains for far-right parties in other European countries.

- SAPA
Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  belgium
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