By BosNewsLife News Center
BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– A suspected French jihadist who spent time in Syria has been detained over his alleged involvement in the shooting deaths of three people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum, police said.
The 29-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche, thought to be the man caught on security camera’s, was detained in the southern French city of Marseille, amid wider concerns over rising anti-Semitism in Europe.
He was in possession of firearms, a large quantity of ammunition and a video claiming responsibility for the May 24 attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium’s capital, prosecutors said.
Nemmouche, from the northern city of Roubaix, had a criminal record, with seven convictions for crimes like attempted robbery, according to investigators.
His alleged links to Syrian jihadist groups also caused alarm. As news of the arrest emerged, Dutch politician Geert Wilders said Sunday, June 1, that two fighters who returned from Syria were detained for plotting to kill him.
Wilders, the leader of the anti-Islam ‘Party for Freedom’ (PVV) party, said he learned about arrests from the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. The coordinator, Dick Schoof, declined to comment.
Following Nemmouche’s arrest, French and Belgian governments pledged to halt radicalised youths from carrying out attacks such as the one against the Jewish Museum in Belgium’s capital.
Belgium’s Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said if the information proved to be accurate then it will “have been the first attack by a person who has been to Syria and that is obviously a worrying development.”
The Brussels killings, which came on the eve of European Parliament elections in which far right parties had a strong showing, led Belgian officials to boost their anti-terror measures, and raised
fears of rising anti-Semitism.
Two Israeli tourists and a French citizen were killed in the museum attack, and a fourth victim remains hospitalized hovering between life and death, the Belgian prosecutor said Sunday, June 1.
The European Jewish Congress reportedly welcomed the arrest and urged European authorities to act faster and more aggressively to prevent such crimes.
European Jewish groups have also expressed concern about a climate of ant-Semitism, including in Central and Eastern Europe. In Hungary, the far-right Jobbik party became the second largest political force in last week’s European elections.
The museum attack has evoked memories of the killing of four Jews in 2012 at a school in France by Mohamed Merah, a gunman inspired by terror group al-Qaida.
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