News / Europe

Frenchman Arrested in Shooting at Brussels Jewish Museum

Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw discusses the arrest of a suspect in the killings at a Belgian Jewish museum at the Federal Prosecutor's office in Brussels, June 1, 2014.
Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw discusses the arrest of a suspect in the killings at a Belgian Jewish museum at the Federal Prosecutor's office in Brussels, June 1, 2014.
VOA News
A suspect has been arrested in France in connection with the May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that killed three people.

Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, a French citizen, was detained at a bus station in the southern French city of Marseille on Friday and had a Kalashnikov assault rifle and another gun with him, a French police source said on Sunday. Nemmouche was in possession of a Kalashnikov rifle and a handgun similar to the ones used in the attack on May 24, sources said.

An official with the prosecutor's office says the suspect has been handed to anti-terrorist investigators and could be held at least through Tuesday under French counterterrorism law, the AP reported.
 
A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.
x
A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.
A passer-by places flowers at the entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2014.

Nemmouche is originally from Roubaix in northern France and is believed to have traveled to Syria in 2013 to join Islamist fighters.

The shooting by a lone gunman killed three people outright - an Israeli couple and a Frenchwoman, while the fourth victim, a 24-year-old Belgian man, was left clinically dead.

Police had released explicit video of the attack, showing a gunman, whose face is not visible under a cap, entering the Jewish museum and taking a Kalashnikov from a bag and opening fire.

French media said Nemmouche was arrested as part of random, drug-related checks at Marseille's bus terminal. Local media also reported that he had in his bag press clippings about the Brussels Jewish museum shooting.

Soulifa Badaoui, who worked as a lawyer for the suspect in the past, told BFM TV Nemmouche was not religious at the time. Asked what role religion played for him then, she said: “None, this was absolutely not part of his personality, he was not observant at all.”

“For me, he was in no way a young man who seem pre-destined to commit this sort of act,” Badaoui said.

Motive behind attack

Anti-Semitism is strongly suspected as the motive behind the attack.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor praised  French and Belgian authorities for the arrest, saying there was a need to clamp down on the spread of hate crimes, especially by those hardened by bloodshed in places like Syria.

“ … For too long authorities in Europe have acted speedily after the fact. It is now time for all to turn attention and set as the highest priority the prevention of these vicious crimes,” he said in a statement.

Jewish community officials have drawn parallels between the Brussels shooting and the 2012 killing of four Jews at a school in France by an al Qaeda-inspired gunman, Mohamed Merah.

Security around all Jewish institutions in Belgium was raised to the highest level after the shooting, and French authorities also stepped up security after two Jews were attacked the same day as they left a synagogue in a Paris suburb wearing traditional Jewish clothing.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: E Norton from: USA
June 01, 2014 12:29 PM
A rather misleading headline. When you read it, you wonder why a French person would bomb the museum. You have to read until you see the name "Mehdi Nemmouche" to understand that it was a "French citizen" but not a real Frenchman that did it. The same thing happened when Theo Van Gogh was murdered. Rather than saying outright that it was done by a Muslim, they originally said it was done by an Animal Rights activist. It was true that the murderer was an Animal Rights activist, but he murdered Van Gogh because he was a Muslim. Very misleading. Obviously some people want to cover up Muslim extremist violence.


by: Abe Manhattan from: New York
June 01, 2014 12:16 PM
He is clearly a Muslim. Why try and hide it?
From another french website: "During his last stay in jail he was noticed for extremist [Islamist] proselytism," Molins said.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid