A father lights his daughter's candle at the Jewish Museum
after the shooting in central Brussels. REUTERS/Eric Vidal
Belgian police are hunting a gunman 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 (local time)
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"With a deeply saddened heart, I think of all of those who
lost their lives in yesterday's savage attack in Brussels,"
"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