Police Hunt Lone Killer as Death Toll Rises to 4 in Brussels Museum Attack

Video Image of Killer Captured — Israeli Couple Among Dead

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 25, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Belgian police were hunting a gunman on Sunday who shot dead two Israelis and a French woman at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, in an attack French President Francois Hollande said was without doubt motivated by anti-Semitism.

Security around all Jewish institutions in Belgium was raised to the highest level following Saturday’s shooting, while French authorities stepped up security after two Jews were attacked near a Paris synagogue.

Belgian officials released a thirty-second video clip from the museum’s security cameras showing a man wearing a dark cap and a blue jacket enter the building, take a Kalashnikov rifle out of a bag, and shoot into a room, before walking out.

“From the images we have seen, we can deduce that the perpetrator probably acted alone and was well prepared,” said Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office.

“It’s still too early to confirm whether it’s a terrorist or an anti-Semitic attack, all lines of investigation are still open,” she told a news conference.

Officials appealed for witnesses to the attack in the busy tourist district which is filled with restaurants and antique shops. The entrance to the Jewish museum was lined with flowers and candles, and will remain closed to the public on Monday.

“The anti-Semitic nature of the act - a shooting, with intent to kill, in the Jewish Museum of Brussels - cannot be denied,” said Hollande, speaking about the Brussels attack.

“We must do everything to fight against anti-Semitism and racism,” he told news channel I-Tele on Sunday.

Hours after the Brussels shootings, two Jews were attacked and beaten in Paris as they left a synagogue in the suburb of Creteil wearing traditional Jewish clothing.

POPE CONDEMNS ‘SAVAGE ATTACK’

The two Israelis, Emmanuel and Miriam Riva, both in their 50s, were described by friends as former Israeli civil servants who were in Belgium on vacation.

The fate of a Belgian man who was also injured in the shooting remained unclear. The prosecutor’s spokeswoman said he was still fighting for his life but an official with the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism said he had died.

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo spoke by telephone with Hollande and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and held talks with the Jewish community in Belgium.

Netanyahu, in a statement from his office, strongly condemned the Brussels killings. They were, he said, “the result of endless incitement against the Jews and their state”.

An Israeli official said Emmanuel Riva had formerly worked for Nativ, a government agency that played a covert role in fostering Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union.

Along with the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence services, the agency was under the authority of the prime minister’s office.

Miriam Riva also formerly worked for the prime minister’s office, the official said without elaborating.

Friends of the couple interviewed by Israeli media said they both worked as accountants in government service.

Pope Francis, in Tel Aviv on Sunday, condemned the attack in Brussels, where about half of Belgium’s 42,000-strong Jewish community lives.

“With a deeply saddened heart, I think of all of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s savage attack in Brussels,” he said.

“In renewing my deep sorrow for this criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred, I commend to our merciful God the victims and pray for the healing of those wounded.”

At some 550,000, France’s Jewish community is the largest in Europe, though violence such as the 2012 murders of three Jewish children and a rabbi by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah have prompted higher emigration to Israel or elsewhere.

France’s Agence Juive, which tracks Jewish emigration, says 1,407 Jews left France for Israel in the first three months of this year, putting 2014 on track to mark the biggest exodus of French Jews to Israel since the country was founded in 1948.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.