Belgian soldiers on patrol in Antwerp, Belgium
Belgian soldiers on patrol in Antwerp, Belgium

The Belgian authorities tightened security measures in the ghetto in Antwerp following the shooting that took place Monday evening near the main synagogue in Vienna, but it is not clear if the synagogue was the target.

A spokesman for the mayor of Antwerp, Bart de Wever, confirmed that additional security measures had been adopted in the area near the train station inhabited by a community of Orthodox Jews.

The decision comes after several gunmen opened fire in different locations in central Vienna in an attack that killed 4 people Monday evening, and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described what happened as an “abhorrent terrorist attack,” confirming the killing of one of the gunmen.

For his part, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Niehammer announced Tuesday morning that the perpetrator of the Vienna attack, who was killed by the police, was a “supporter” of the terrorist organization ISIS.

The anti-terror authorities in Belgium said, “They will not raise the level of alert for the threat of terrorism in the areas inhabited by the Jewish community.” Michael Freilich, the representative of the Jewish community in Belgium, welcomed de Weaver’s decision to enhance security for the Jewish community in Antwerp, he said.

In May, the Belgian authorities’ decision to withdraw military patrols from the streets of all cities sparked the ire of the Jewish communities living in the Antwerp ghetto. Some civil society organizations defending the Jewish community believe that their large neighborhood, known for its gold and jewelry trade, may become a target for terrorist attacks in the future.

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