Shalom Life | August 03, 2015

Brussels Jewish Museum Suspect Apprehended

The suspect is 29-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche, who has a history of "religious radicalism"

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: June 2nd, 2014 in News » World

Brussels Jewish Museum Suspect Apprehended

Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old Frenchman with a history of religious radicalism and previous jail time, and the prime suspect in the May 24 shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum, was arrested in France, said Prosecutor Francois Molins.

Nemmouche is suspected of killing four people in what is described as a “cold-blooded” and “determined” attack last week.

Nemmouche, noted by the Belgian authorities as “radicalized” and a former fighter in Syria was, as President Francois Hollande said, “...arrested as soon as he set foot in France, in Marseille.”

Nemmouche was found to be carrying an assault rifle, handgun, and other objects that matched the profile of those used in the Brussels killing, all found during a “random check” by customs officers, Francois Molins said in a press conference. In a separate briefing, Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw noted that a video had been found in which a man is heard saying he killed people in Brussels and Molins.

Nemmouche refused to speak. In December 2012 he left Europe to travel, including a stop in Syria. “We can confirm that this person was radicalized,” said Belgian federal prosecutor’s spokesman Eric Van der Sypt. “He want to Syria to fight there and then came back to France. That is a problem that is occurring in every European country at the moment.”

Van der Sypt added that Belgium had issued a European arrest warrant for the man, and a judge will decide whether Nemmouche will be extradited for trial. In a statement, Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said that Belgian and French police would continue to work together to prevent such events.

French and Belgian Interior Minister’s Bernard Cazeneuve and Joelle Milquet called for increased sharing of police intelligence between countries in the EU. Those topic will be further discussed at a June 4-5 ministerial meeting in Luxembourg. “International cooperation is an essential condition if we’re going to succeed against these terrorists who are mobile and use social networks,” said Cazeneuve. “We need measures to help circulate information better.”

The European Jewish Congress welcomed the arrest, while noting that the attack highlighted a need for further efforts to prevent such assaults. “There is a wave of terror against the Jews in Europe,” EJC president Moshe Kantor said. “We need far greater cooperation and resources to catch these people before they act.”

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