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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs