Killer at Belgian Jewish museum ‘may be hitman’
The attacker walked calmly away after killing three people with an assault rifle
Monday 26 May 2014
A gunman who killed three people at a Jewish museum in Belgium was “cold-blooded and very determined”, officials said today, leading some security experts to suggest that he may have been a hitman rather than an anti-Semitic “lone wolf”.
An Israeli couple and a French woman were killed in the shooting in Brussels city centre on Saturday. A Belgian man remained critically wounded last night.
Police have released a 30-second video clip from security cameras which shows a man in a dark cap, sunglasses and a blue jacket enter the building, take a Kalashnikov assault rifle out of a bag and shoot into a room before calmly walking out.
“The footage shows an individual who acts in cold blood and is very determined,” said Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office. In a sign of the severity of the case, she said it was being handing over to federal investigators. “The identity and nationality of the victims is an additional reason to hand the case to the federal level,” Ms Van Wymersch added.
Prosecutors said they were studying all scenarios and would not speculate about the gunman’s identity or motive. But some terrorism and security experts said the way in which the assailant carried out the killings suggested planning and execution by a specialist.
Edwin Bakker, professor at the Centre for Terrorism and Counter-terrorism at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said no group had claimed responsibility for the attack, suggesting it was not terrorism. “People use the word terrorism very quickly but when I saw the images I thought this is a hitman,” he said.
One of the Israeli victims, Emmanuel Riva, had formerly worked for Nativ, a government agency that played a covert role in fostering Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union, an Israeli official said. Along with Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, and its domestic security equivalent, Shin Bet, the Nativ agency was under the authority of the Prime Minister’s office.
Miriam Riva, his wife, also once worked for the Prime Minister’s office, the official said without elaborating.
Friends of the couple said they both worked as accountants in government service.
Other analysts dismissed the notion that this was a contract killing and said it was more likely to be a random attack on Jews.
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 4 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
James Foley 'beheaded': PM cuts holiday short for emergency meeting on British response to latest Isis atrocity
Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...