Purim mask (illustration)
Purim mask (illustration) Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

Following the lethal Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in Brussels earlier on Tuesday, rabbis in Belgium's Antwerp instructed haredi residents of the town not to wear masks as part of the costumes traditionally worn for the Purim holiday that begins there on Wednesday night.

While local police did not officially demand that the masks not be worn, senior members of the haredi community were asked to make the announcement in light of the heightened security situation, so as not to create superfluous panic or allow terrorists to take advantage of the masks to camouflage.

The Jewish community in Brussels was to hold large Purim festivals in the city, but following the attacks the security alert was raised to the highest level, meaning that all public events are canceled including the Purim celebrations.

Instead the Purim festivities will take place in local synagogues under heavy security. Likewise a general lockdown is in place in Brussels, with residents advised not to leave their homes. 

Several terrorists who are suspected of having taken part in the bombings at Brussels' airport and a local metro station remain at large, with security forces working to track them down.

A third terrorist from the airport attacks whose bomb is thought to have failed to detonate is being hunted, after he was documented with the two suicide bombers at the airport and later fleeing the site after the blasts. A suspect from the metro bombing is also being tracked.

A total of 34 victims were murdered in the attacks, and nearly 200 others were wounded.