Man Arrested in Belgium for Attempted Car-Ramming Attack on Father, Son on Shabbos

Belgian paratroopers guard outside a Jewish school in Antwerp. (Reuters/Yves Herman, File)

Police in Belgium have arrested a man who is suspected of trying to ram a man and his son on a street in Antwerp on their way to davening on Shabbos morning.

At about 8:30, an eight-seater black Ibiza car was seen swerving sharply while speeding on Isabellalei, a central street in Antwerp, toward the man and his son.

Images of the attempted attack were caught on recently installed security cameras.

The car is seen climbing the sidewalk as the two alleged victims are walking toward it, prompting them to jump away from the sidewalk and toward the safety of the building facades.

They then jumped behind a lamppost. The car swerved back wildly, returning to the road from its incursion onto the sidewalk. The father ran after the car as it sped away.

The camera images were examined and police helped identify the suspect.

Antwerp-based Joods Actueel Jewish monthly reports that witnesses said the driver was of foreign origin. While Belgian media did not name the man or offer any additional information on his identity, Israel’s Kan News reported that the driver was of Muslim origin.

The suspect is to be arraigned Sunday on suspicion of attempted manslaughter.

This attempted attack is assumed to be anti-Semitic, as the pedestrians were clearly recognizable as Jewish.

Joods Actueel added that the presence of soldiers at the corner of the street was presumed to be the reason for the perpetrator not to drive into the pedestrians. The man ran after the car and alerted the soldiers of the incident.

This incident also highlights that the recent investment in cameras and added security for the Jewish institutions in Antwerp has been useful in combating anti-Semitism.