Security Tightened in Antwerp’s Jewish Community following Vienna Attacks

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A Belgian paratrooper patrols outside a Jewish school in the central city of Antwerp January 17, 2015. REUTERS / Yves Herman

The Antwerp police have taken additional security measures in the local Jewish community.

The added security is being implemented in addition to routine measures following the deadly terrorist attack in Vienna near a prominent synagogue Monday night, Nieuwsblad.be reported Tuesday morning, citing a spokesman for Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever.

“As always, the police are closely monitoring incoming intelligence,” the spokesperson said.

“The Jewish community in our country is on full alert after the attack in Vienna near a synagogue,” said Michael Freilich, representative of the Jewish community in Belgium. He advised everyone to be extra vigilant.

“Synagogues and Jewish cultural centers are closed, but several schools provide emergency accommodation and kosher supermarkets are of course also open,” Freilich said. “The mayor of Antwerp immediately had extra security measures activated, for which the Jewish community is grateful,” he added.

During a cabinet hearing on October 21, the Global Coalition against Daesh (OCAD) confirmed that the Jewish community in Belgium is still facing terror level 3, which indicates a ‘serious’ threat where an attack is ‘possible and likely.’”

The Forum of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (FJO) says that it “was horrified to learn of the terrorist attack near a synagogue in Vienna.” The group stressed that in the event of a revival of Salafist terrorism in Europe, it would be “an irresponsible decision by the Belgian government to withdraw soldiers from the streets.”

“The coalition agreement concluded by the parties within the new government mentions a gradual withdrawal of the military from the streets of Belgian cities. The FJO intends to discuss this announcement with the responsible ministers,” the organization said.

(Jewish Press).

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