"We want to warn Antwerp's Jewish community in its entirety to be on its guard. The community's support for Israel is no secret," Ahmed Azzuz, head of the AEL in Belgium told the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique.

"The AEL calls on the Jewish community in Antwerp to cease its support of, and distance itself from, the state of Israel. If not, attacks in Antwerp are almost unpreventable," Azzuz had earlier told the Belgian Flemish magazine Knack, adding, "Every year, 200 Belgian-Israeli reservists leave for Israel to kill innocent civilians."

According to an Israel Channel 1 television report, the Jewish community is taking the threats seriously, and has already contacted elected Jewish officials, the local police and the nation's justice minister. A member of the Belgian diamond merchant's community interviewed on the program confirmed reports that members of the Jewish community are afraid and at present, refrain from being outdoors during the nighttime hours.

Peter Meeus reminded La Libre Belgique, "The quarter was already targeted in 1981, when terrorists attacked a Portuguese synagogue."

The AEL's Azzuz insisted in the media that his statements were not threats.

A spokeswoman for Antwerp police said rigorous security measures had already been introduced.