Belgian FM Vows to Catch Museum Attackers

Foreign Minister says she was close by when the attack occurred, promises attackers will be dealt with 'very harshly'.

Yosef Berger ,


Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on Sunday condemned Saturday's attack on Jews in central Brussels. Speaking to Justice Minister Tzippi Livni, Reynders said that she was shocked at the attack. Reynders said she had been in the vicinity of the attack when it occurred, and was quickly alerted to the events by government officials.

In a Facebook posting Livni described the conversation. According to Livni, Reynders said that the attack “was terrible and left me shocked. You cannot help to think that when we see a Jewish museum, you think of an anti-Semitic act. But the investigation will have to show the causes,” she said.

Livni said that Reynders had told her that Belgian authorities were going full-force on the investigation and were determined to apprehend the culprits, who would be dealt with “very harshly.” The attack, she said, was perpetrated not only against Jews, but against all Belgians. “This is the message they are sending out to the Jewish community.” Reynders and other top government officials are to meet with Jewish community leaders Sunday, Livni said.

Three people were killed in the attack at Brussels' Jewish Museum Saturday. Two of them were Israeli tourists, a couple from Tel Aviv in their fifties; the other was a museum staff member, officials announced Sunday.

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 spoke with Di Rupo Sunday afternoon, thanking his Belgian counterpart for his concern and offering to cooperate with the investigation. "As of now, you are the only European leader who has called me on this issue. I am very disturbed by the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism toward Jews and their state," the Prime Minister said.

Upon hearing the news of the attack Saturday night, Netanyahu said that “This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. 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. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”