The victims of a Jewish museum shooting in Brussels, Belgium in which three people were killed included a couple from Israel. The other casualty was a French national. One other person was seriously injured.
Israeli Foreign Minister Paul Hirschson said the couple in their 50s were residents of greater Tel Aviv. Israeli officials are concluding that the attack was aimed at Israelis or Jews, while Brussels investigators are continuing to investigate.
They are searching for a lone suspect in the museum shooting, who is believed to be armed and dangerous. Just before 4 p.m., the unknown shooter arrived in the Sablon area in Brussels, the location of the Jewish Museum, and began shooting in the building’s entrance. He reportedly fled the scene in an Audi.
The Jewish Israeli couple who were killed were identified as Emanuel (54) and Miriam (53) Riva. They were the parents of two daughters, ages 16 and 15. The French casualty was a museum volunteer, and a fourth victim, who is in critical condition, was a 24 year-old Belgian man.
“They were an amazing couple, good people, truly salt of the earth,” a family friend of the couple told Ynet News. “I don’t know people like that, who were of great stature.” The friend said that the couple worked in Germany as accountants for government corporations.
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the murder at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and expressed his grief. He also directly connected the shooting to an attack against the Jewish state of Israel and Jews at large.
“This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state,” said Netanyahu. “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.”
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who was at the Jewish museum shortly after the shooting, agreed cautiously agreed with the sentiment in his comments to the press.
“…you cannot help to think that when we see a Jewish museum, you think of an anti-Semitic act,” said Reynders. “But the investigation will have to show the causes.”
Belgium’s interior minister, Joelle Milquet, also said on Saturday night that the country was ratcheting up anti-terror measures around all of the Jewish institutions in the country.
“We decided to apply to a maximum level of protection to Jewish sites,” she said and added it was a precaution as they don’t know yet whether the Jewish museum shooting was an anti-Semitic attack or if there was a different motive.