UPDATED! 4 dead in shooting at Brussels Jewish Museum

UnknownUnknown man opened fire after entering the museum in what Belgian interior minister describes as an apparent anti-Semitic attack. The attack is likely a terrorist act, the result of a “climate of hate,” says Belgium League.

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Times of Israel  Three people were killed and one person was in critical condition following a shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum on Saturday. A Jewish community figure, Joel Rubinfeld, told AFP it clearly “is a terrorist act” as a man had been seen driving up and entering the museum before opening fire inside and running off.

The country’s foreign minister, Didier Reynders, tweeted Saturday that he was “shocked by the murders committed at the Jewish museum.” “I am thinking of the victims I saw there and their families,” he said.

The La Libre newspaper said on its website that an Audi had driven up and parked outside the museum, and that both a passenger and the driver had gotten out. It said the driver placed two bags on the ground and then opened fire on bystanders before driving off.

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“A person wearing a backpack was seen opening fire before fleeing,” Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) reported [in French]. Twelve people were being treated for shock, according to local sources.

No information was immediately available from police on the circumstances of the shoot-out but Sobotic said he had seen two bodies just inside the doors of the museum, a young woman and a man.

The Jewish Museum of Belgium, which was not answering calls, is located in the heart of the Sablon district which is home to the city’s top antique dealers. Interior Minister Joelle Milquet too was in the area, a popular weekend haunt for shoppers and holidayers.

The police had a “serious tip”, he added, amid reports that a bystander had given the police the car’s registration number.

UPDATE: Death count up to 4 in Jewish Museum shooting. Suspected terrorist gunman is in custody.

UK Express (h/t Maria J)  In what had all the hallmarks of a planned anti-Semitic attack, he had arrived in the landmark tourist site just before 4pm in his Audi car. Witnesses said he carried a rucksack and ‘looked determined’ before pulling out his weapon from the bag. ‘Bodies were left lying on the ground inside and outside the building,’ said a local police spokesman. There was blood everywhere and people were screaming.’

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Around a dozen other visitors to the museum were caught up in the carnage, suffering minor injuries and severe shock. 

After the slaughter, the attacker jumped back into the Audi and fled.  A witness managed to write down its number plate and alerted police, who caught the suspected gunman soon afterwards. 

Confirming an ‘undoubted terrorist attack’, Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said three men and a woman were hit, saying: ‘It’s clearly extremely serious’, and ‘it’s not a coincidence that the target was a Jewish museum

Anti-Semitic attacks have become all too common in Europe over recent years, with Islamic radicals often behind them. In the face of such savagery, security groups have launched numerous clamp-downs on extremists, including in cities in Belgium, which has a large Muslim population.

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