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Brussels: Two out of Three Victims Israelis

Middle-aged Tel Aviv couple hit by 'bullets to the face or throat,' prosecutor's office says.
By Tova Dvorin and Eliran Aharon
First Publish: 5/25/2014, 8:06 AM / Last Update: 5/25/2014, 8:25 AM

Illustrative
Illustrative
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The victims of the horrific shooting attack in Brussels' Jewish Museum have been identified Sunday morning. 

Two of the victims were Israeli tourists, a couple from Tel Aviv in their fifties; the other was a museum staff member, officials announced Sunday. 

Belgium's foreign ministry announced that identifying the victims - specifically the tourists - took several hours due to lack of identification. Belgium's prosecutor's office said that the victims were likely hit by bullets in the face and throat. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed the news early Sunday. 

"An Israeli couple in their 50s from Tel Aviv who were visiting Brussels as tourists, were among the victims," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP Sunday.  

"We have confidence in the Belgian authorities, in the justice system and the police to look into this horrible crime," he said.

A gunman entered Brussels' Jewish Museum Saturday afternoon and began shooting, killing three people and critically wounding another. A national manhunt has begun for the shooter; local police are still looking for possible suspects, official announced Sunday morning, despite at least one arrest shortly after the shooting. 

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo expressed utter "shock" shortly after the attack. 

"All Belgians are united and show solidarity in the face of this odious attack on a Jewish cultural site," he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday night strongly condemned the shooting, saying the attack was directly caused by incitement.

“This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said.

“Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored,” he added.

“Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”

Foreign officials have begun sending their condolences to the Belgian Jewish community as well.

Late Saturday, French President Francois Hollande condemned the “horrifying killings with the greatest force," and expressed France's solidarity with Belgium and condolences to the victims' families. 

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt condemned the "despicable attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels," calling it "an affront against the values our modern Europe represents." 

Birgitta OhlssonMinister for EU Affairs, also condemned the attack. "I'm shocked about the anti-Semitic attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels just one Day before the elections to the European Parliament," she said.