Friday 24 November 2017

Israeli PM condemns response to museum shooting

A woman lays flowers at the Jewish Museum in Brussels (AP)
A woman lays flowers at the Jewish Museum in Brussels (AP)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Forensic experts examine the site of a shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels. Belgian officials say that at least three people have been killed in gunfire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Robert Tait in Jerusalem

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set himself on a collision course with European leaders last night by accusing them of "hypocrisy" for allegedly failing to adequately condemn a suspected anti-Semitic attack in Brussels that killed four people, including two Israelis.

Police in Belgium were still hunting for a lone gunman who escaped the scene after carrying out Saturday's deadly attack on the Jewish museum.

Video footage from a security camera showed the perpetrator entering the museum and firing at his victims with a gun featuring a Kalashnikov-style folding stock. He then fled on foot towards Brussels' Marolles district, where he disappeared.

Two of the victims were identified as Israeli tourists, Emanuel and Miriam Riva, aged 54, and 53, from Tel Aviv, who are survived by 15 and 16-year-old daughters.

A French volunteer at the museum was also killed, and a 24-year-old man died in hospital yesterday after suffering neck and face wounds.

Motive

Brussels' public prosecutor's office said it has yet to establish a motive for the attack but said the location suggested anti-Semitism.

Mr Netanyahu seized on the arrival of Pope Francis in the Holy Land to criticise European reaction as too muted – while blaming the incident on "constant incitement" against Israel by "elements in the Middle East and Europe".

Speaking on his arrival in Israel, the Pope referred to the attack as "this criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred".

Mr Netanyahu told a meeting of the Israeli cabinet: "We appreciate the Pope's strong stand against anti-Semitism, especially in light of the surging Jew hatred that we have witnessed in recent days.

"There are elements in Europe that rush to condemn the construction of a flat in Jerusalem but do not rush to condemn – or offer only weak condemnations of – the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself and, even worse, welcome unity with a terrorist element such as Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. We oppose such hypocrisy, we protest against it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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