Gunman kills four in Jewish museum in Belgium

Police believe gunman acted alone

Belgian police have released CCTV footage of the assailant who shot dead three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Video: Reuters

 

museum of Belgium on Saturday as the country went to the polls in European, regional and national elections.

The authorities released video footage of the man who opened fire shortly before 4pm inside the Jewish museum in the busy Sablon area of Brussels, killing two Israeli and one French citizen. The fourth victim, a Belgian national, died yesterday.

A man arrested on Saturday evening was released by police yesterday, spawning a massive police search.

The state prosecutor said police now believe the man acted alone, and appealed to members of the public for help in identifying the subject. Three sets of elections Security was stepped up at voting booths across the city yesterday as the country held three sets of elections.

Exit polls yesterday evening suggested that the separatist Flemish party N-VA topped the polls in Flanders, claiming close to a third of votes, up from the 28 per cent in 2010. In French-speaking Wallonia, prime minister Elio di Rupo’s party lost support, but was still ahead in the polls, with close to 30 per cent of the vote.

Far-right Flemish party Vlaams Belang looked set to suffer heavy losses in Flanders, potentially dipping below 5 per cent.

Even if N-VA commands the most votes in the federal election it does not guarantee that the party will participate in the next government. The Flemish nationalist party held the largest share of the vote in the 2010 general election, but was unable to form a coalition. Following 19 months of political standoff, a six-party coalition government was finally formed in December 2011, led by Socialist prime minister Elio di Rupo. Dissolve government Mr di Rupo is likely to dissolve the government today and begin preparations for forming a new government. While the process is not expected to lead to the 2010-2011 impasse, the formation of a new government is likely to take weeks.

Belgium operates a highly devolved system of government, with voters in the Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels region only permitted to vote for candidates in their area.

The N-VA party , which campaigned strongly on a secessionist agenda in 2010, has toned down its nationalist rhetoric in this election, instead focusing on its pledge to cut Belgium’s high income tax rate.

With Flanders economically stronger than neighbouring Wallonia, the N-VA’s leader, Bart De Wever, has tapped in to Flemish concern that the region has been subsidising the French-speaking area.