A 29-year-old French national suspected of having ties with Islamist rebels in Syria has been arrested in connection with last week’s shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in which four people were killed, investigators tell Agence France-Presse.
AFP on Sunday named the suspect, Mehdi Nemmouche, and reported that he was arrested Friday in the French city of Marseille while he had an AK-47 and a handgun in his possession. An investigative source said his weapons were similar to those used in the Brussels attack.
According to the report, he was arrested at a Marseille train station as his train pulled in from Brussels.
Besides the weapons, he also had in his possession a small video camera and a baseball cap similar to the one the shooter at the Jewish museum wore, AFP reported.
In security camera video posted online by Belgian police last week, the shooter – wearing a baseball cap - appeared to be operating alone as he calmly and methodically removed his gun from a bag, fired at his victims, then packed up the weapon and headed outside where he made his escape. In the video, he appeared to be shooting with a gun resembling an AK-47.
The Times of Israel reported that investigators are focused on the suspect’s possible terrorism connections, noting that Nemmouche traveled to Syria last year to fight with jihadi rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. Law enforcement officials in Europe have warned of the danger posed by those traveling to fight in Syria then returning home as trained terrorists.
AFP quoted a judicial source who said that the man is being held on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise.