A massive manhunt is under way in Europe after a Brussels attack over the weekend at a Jewish museum. The attack left an Israeli couple in their 50s and one French woman dead after they were gunned down at the Brussels Jewish Museum.
Belgian police were on the hunt for a gunman on Sunday who they had scant information about, other than a brief surveillance video and a general description of the make of his car, an Audi.
A 30-second video clip was released by Belgian officials that showed the Brussels attack. The shooter, who was captured on the museum’s security cameras, wore a dark cap and blue jacket. He entered the building and took a Kalashnikov rifle out of a bag, then shot into a room. He walked out and then left in his car.
Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, said the video proved the attack was clearly planned out and the act of a well-prepared, lone shooter. But she didn’t draw conclusions about the motivation.
“It’s still too early to confirm whether it’s a terrorist or an anti-Semitic attack,” she said at a news conference.
French President Francois Hollande has taken a stronger stance on labeling the tragedy, though. After initially being reticent about what motivated the Brussels attack, Hollande said on Sunday there was no doubt that it was anti-Semitism.
As police scoured Brussels for the shooter in the hours after the shooting, security in the rest of Belgium was raised to the highest possible levels at every Jewish institution in the country. French authorities also raised security after an attack there on Saturday on two religious Jews just outside of Paris. The victims, two brothers, were beaten as they were leaving a synagogue just outside of the French city. It was not clear if the Brussels attack and the Paris beating were connected.
President Hollande spoke of the “the will of France to allow all Jews of France to feel in perfect security and calm” after the Paris beatings. He also said authorities were doing everything they could to find the perpetrators in the attack.
The American Jewish Committee has repeatedly called for more protections for Jews in Europe in recent years, and condemned the Brussels attack and the beatings in Paris. They have long pointed to what they call a rise of anti-Semitism in Europe since 2000.
About 1,000 people came together in a solidarity march in Brussels, carrying small Israeli flags, after the attack there.