French authorities have detained a 29-year-old man named Mehdi Nemmouche who is believed to be connected to a shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium on May 24. Nemmouche, a radicalized Islamist who recently spent a year in Syria (according to CNN), was detained after customs officials discovered both a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a handgun in his luggage.
Nemmouche has remained silent while in custody, refusing to provide any details or denials regarding his role in the Jewish Museum shooting. Authorities did report finding several items of clothing matching the items worn by the museum shooting suspect in the luggage with the guns. In addition to those items, Nemmouche also carried ammunition, digital cameras, and assorted gun parts.
(For more details about the shooting, see The Inquisitr‘s previous coverage of the event.)
Nemmouche has been detained on charges of murder and attempted murder in connection to the shooting.
In addition to the information about Nemmouche’s time in Syria, French authorities have released information related to their theory about Nemmouche’s radicalization, claiming that the shooting suspect’s introduction to Islam came during his time in prison. They have also confirmed that Nemmouche’s criminal history includes at least one multiple-year sentence already.
While CNN’s coverage emphasizes the claim that Nemmouche has not spoken while in custody, a conflicting story from BBC News reported the museum shooting suspect has admitted to the shooting on a video that authorities recovered from one of the digital cameras in his possession. The camera also had footage of the shooting at the Jewish Museum.
Additionally, BBC News brings to light evidence that the suspected shooter might have connections to the Levant, a jihadist group fighting in Syria.
Frank Gardner, a security analyst retained by the BBC for its coverage, added the point that British government officials have been wary of the risk posed by young men traveling to Syria to join jihadist groups in the fight there, only to return home in order to perpetrate attacks on British soil. Until now, such talk was mostly speculative (even if it was grounded in intelligence data), but the shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels points to their predictions being worth heeding.
Belgian officials held a press conference almost simultaneously with the French authorities’ release of information, during which they revealed that Belgian police had carried out raids in the Courtrai region of Belgium where the museum shooter was believed to had stayed.
The shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels killed three people outright and injured a fourth man, who was a museum employee.