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3 killed, 1 injured at Brussels Jewish Museum

BRUSSELS (AP) — At least three people were killed and one seriously injured in a spree of gunfire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday, officials said.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who was in the vicinity, said the scene ‘‘was terrible and left me shocked’’ as he saw two of the three dead lying at the entry of the museum, located in the touristy Sablon neighborhood.

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He added that ‘‘you cannot help to think that when we see a Jewish museum, you think of an anti-Semitic act. But the investigation will have to show the causes.’’

Ingrid Van Daele, a spokeswoman for the Interior Minister, confirmed the casualties. She added that investigators were still on the scene gathering details, and that it was too soon to say whether it was an anti-Semitic attack.

No details were immediately available, but according to RTBF, a Belgian broadcasting company, a person with a backpack opened fire then fled.

Police have closed off the area around the museum, near the center of Brussels, and numerous ambulances were at the scene.

The Sablon area consists of cobblestoned streets with numerous antique shops, trendy cafes and museums, including the Jewish Museum. The attack happened during a three-day jazz festival in the neighborhood, and came on the eve of national and European Parliament elections.

Viviane Teitelbaum, a member of the Brussels legislature, said anti-Semitic attacks reached a peak in the early 1980s but had dropped off before a recent rise in anti-Jewish sentiment.

‘‘It has been a very difficult place to live’’ for Jews, she said, adding that many young people are leaving the country. She added some 40,000 Jews live in Belgium, half of whom reside in Brussels.

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