Belgium trial on Jewish museum terror attack opens | News | DW


The trial of the deadly 2014 attack on the Belgian Jewish Museum in Brussels opened on Thursday.

The attack is considered one of the first claimed by the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group on European soil. More than 100 witnesses are expected to testify, including four French journalists who say they were held captive in Syria by one of the perpetrators.

What happened:

  • Mehdi Nemmouche, a 33-year-old French citizen with Algerian heritage, is suspected of opening fire at the museum, first with a pistol and then with an assault rifle. Prosecutors say they have video footage to prove it.
  • Four people were killed in the attack, including an Israeli couple, a Belgian receptionist at the museum and a French volunteer.
  • Nemmouche was arrested a week later in the French port city of Marseille. Investigators said he was detained while carrying the weapons used in the attack.
  • A second suspect, 30-year-old French national Nacer Bendrer, is believed to have supplied the arms, according to prosecutors. Both men are believed to have met in prison, where they were radicalized.

Read more: Jews in Europe alarmed by rising anti-Semitism

‘Terrorist murder’

Both men have been charged with “terrorist murder.” Both deny any wrongdoing.

At least 120 witnesses are expected to testify during the trial. Prosecutors will begin cross-examining the suspects on Tuesday.

If convicted, both suspects face potential life sentences. The jury consists of four women and eight men.

Read more: Are Europeans getting used to terror attacks?

Terror attacks in Europe

The shooting is part of a series of terror attacks that swept across several Western European capitals, many of them claimed by IS.

More than 260 people were killed in attacks in France, Belgium and Germany between 2014 and 2016.

Read more: Opinion: The normality of terrorism

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ls/msh (dpa, AFP)





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