BBC News – Belgium steps up security after Jewish museum shooting

Police outside Jewish Museum in Brussels. 24 May 2014Police sealed off streets around the museum in central Brussels

Security has been stepped up at Jewish sites across Belgium after a gunman shot dead three people at the Jewish Museum in the capital Brussels.

A man who was detained by police shortly after the attack has been released without charge. A manhunt has been launched for a different suspect.

A fourth victim remains in a critical condition.

Two of the dead were Israeli tourists, a couple in their 50s, Israel’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The Belgian prosecutor’s office said the victims were struck by bullets in the face or throat.

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said he thought the shooting was probably a “terrorist act”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement strongly condemning the killings which he said were “the result of endless incitement against the Jews and their state”.

Belgium has a Jewish population of some 42,000, about half of whom live in the capital.

Police outside Jewish Museum in Brussels. 24 May 2014A fourth victim of the shooting is in a serious condition in hospital

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who was one of the first people to arrive at the scene, spoke of his shock at seeing two of the victims lying at the entrance to the museum.

“You cannot help think that when we see a Jewish museum, you think of an anti-Semitic act. But the investigation will have to show the causes,” he said.

Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said Belgians stood “united… faced with this hateful attack”.

He said “everything has been mobilised that can be mobilised” to find the killer.

Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said the attacker parked a car outside before entering the museum.

She said the gunman “apparently fired rather quickly, went outside and left”.

The attack happened at around 15:50 local time (13:50 GMT) on Saturday in the busy Sablon area of Brussels, which was hosting a three-day jazz festival.

Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, earlier said one person was detained after he drove away from the museum around the time of the attack.

Belgian police say the man has now been released and is being treated as a witness.

A second suspect left the area on foot. Ms Van Wymersch said security camera footage was being studied to try to identify the person.

Police have cordoned off several streets around the museum.

map of Brussels

25 May 2014 | 7:26 am – Source: bbc.co.uk
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