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Antwerp rabbi sent home from hospital after stabbing

Victim’s wounds not as dire as they first appeared; motive for attack unclear

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Illustrative: Antwerp's Jewish district (JTA/Ben Harris)
Illustrative: Antwerp's Jewish district (JTA/Ben Harris)

The Belgian rabbi who was stabbed in Antwerp Saturday was released to his home late in the day.

The hospital told Israel Radio that the man’s wounds were not as severe as they initially seemed. Police also spoke with the rabbi.

The 31-year-old man was stabbed in the throat while on his way to his synagogue, as he walked under a railway bridge to the Pelikaanstraat area on Saturday morning, according to the European Jewish Press.

Initial reports said the man’s life was not in danger but he was in serious condition. On Saturday evening Channel 2 News reported a slight improvement in his condition.

Belgian police launched an investigation into the incident. The motive, whether anti-Semitic or criminal, was not immediately known.

A man who had initially been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack was later released from police custody after investigators determined he was not involved in the stabbing.

In May, four people, including an Israeli couple, were killed at the Brussels Jewish Museum when an Islamic extremist burst into the site and opened fire.

Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche, who had spent more than a year fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria, is awaiting trial for the attack on charges of “murder in a terrorist context.”

Extra police protection in Belgium after an attack on May 24  at Jewish museum in Brussels (photo credit:  Joods Actueel/FLASH90)
Extra police protection in Belgium after an attack on May 24 at Jewish museum in Brussels (photo credit: Joods Actueel/FLASH90)

The museum opened again on September 14 under tight security.

The shooting — the first such attack in Brussels in three decades — underlined fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitic violence in Europe and of terror attacks from foreign fighters returning from Syria.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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