Four people were killed in an attack by a gunman at the Jewish Museum in the center of Brussels on Sunday afternoon. The gunman fled, but a suspect was later arrested, according to the Belgian newspaper La Libre.
Earlier reports said police confirmed there were three dead and one seriously wounded, but La Libre reported it had confirmation from a source that the fourth had since died.
The paper also reported that the foreign affairs minister, Didier Reynders, was by chance in the area and was one of the first witnesses to the shooting. “I heard the gunshots. I ran and I saw the bodies on the ground,” he said.
The interior minister, Joëlle Milquet, was also nearby. She arrived at the scene of the shootings some moments after Reynders. According to her, “it is likely this is an anti-Semitic attack.”
The museum is located near the Grand Sablon, a fashionable cobblestoned area of art galleries and cafés in central Brussels.
The chairman of the Central Jewish Consistory of Belgium, Klener Julien, told La Libre that “there has been no recent threats to the Jewish Museum of Belgium.”
Maurice Sosnowski, President of the Coordination Centre of Jewish organizations in Belgium, was quoted as saying: “This is dismaying because we are in the presence of the first anti- Jewish attack in Brussels since the Second World War. “
The gunman arrived at the museum at around 15:50 (13:50 GMT) carrying a backpack and opened fire before fleeing in an Audi, according to local news reports.
Eyewitness Alain Sobotik told AFP news agency he had seen two bodies in the lobby of the museum, according to a BBC report.
One was “a young woman with her head covered in blood,” he said. “She was holding a leaflet and looked like a tourist.”
The museum holds works of art and an archive and artifacts of Jewish history. This week it has been advertising an advance viewing of a new film, Le Dernier des Injustes – The Last of the Unjust.