Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Jewish Institutions in Belgium Given Around the Clock Police Protection After Terror Attack

July 29, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish communal institutions throughout Belgium have been granted special round the clock police protection following yesterday’s terrorist attack against a group of Jewish teenagers in Antwerp which resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy and the wounding of 20 other persons. The attacker, a man carrying Moroccan travel documents, hurled two grenades at a group of 40 children waiting to board a bus for summer camp.

Paris-born David Kahane, whose parents had just driven him to the Antwerp Community Center and were still present when the attack took place, was killed on the spot. Close to 20 children were wounded, 17 seriously and six of them are still in critical condition. Most of the parents, members of the Agudat Israel, and generally employed in the diamond industry, saw the attack and then helped chase the assailant.

When pinned down by the parents and Belgian police who had joined in the chase, the man said: “I want to be judged within the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They (apparently meaning the Israelis) kill our children as well.” The man, believed to be Lebanese, was carrying a heavy caliber automatic pistol and 18 bullets.

A few yards away from the arrest scene, pandemonium had broken loose. Youngsters were bleeding profusely from their wounds and crying out in pain. Parents were trying to give first aid, passers-by massed in a circle and after a few minutes dozens of ambulances and police cars rushed to the site of the attack.


The bus was parked at the time of the attack in front of the Jewish Community Center on the Rue Lamoriniere in the heart of Jewish Antwerp a small ghetto-like area where practically all shops are Jewish-owned and nearly all restaurants and cafes are kosher. As people, many wearing traditional Hassidic dress, rushed out into the streets, the police took fast action to try and prevent additional attacks.

Later during the day, the precautionary steps were further intensified and police guards were stationed outside most Jewish institutions throughout the country. Police are also guarding the hospitals where the wounded youngsters are being treated and the obstetrical unit at Middelhelm where the 27-year-old camp counselor, Janine Pollak, who is eight months pregnant, is in the intensive care unit.

Two previous attacks were carried out in Belgium by Arab terrorists: in 1969, a grenade was thrown at the El A1 office in Brussels wounding two people and on April 16, 1979, 16 people, all Belgian passengers, were wounded at Zauantem Airport near Brussels by a hand grenade.


The Belgian authorities released this morning a list of some of those wounded in yesterday’s attack: Mrs. Pollak from Antwerp; Guy Koening from Israel; and Isaac Abramovich, 17; Charles Lerner, 20; Michel, Grossman, 15; Jacques Uhr, 16; Willy and Marcel GJeiser, 11 and 9; Eliag Gryn, 19; Golda Ehrenfeld, 39; Heinrich Rosenblum, 15; Arnold Freifeld, 17; and Joshua Erblich, 13, all from Belgium.

(In New York, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, administrative director of Agudath Israel of America, said today that youngsters in Agudath Israel summer camps throughout the United States organized prayers for the healing of those wounded in the terrorist attack. He also said that Agudath world organization leaders in Jerusalem and in New York expressed condolences to the family of David Kohane.)

(In a statement today in New York, Edgar Bronfman, acting president of the World Jewish Congress, said: “Such savage bestiality against children is a product of deranged minds. It illustrates once again the dangers of appeasement of terrorism. It is high time that the world recognizes these murderers for what they are.”)

Recommended from JTA