France’s interior minister said he believes the Frenchman suspected of killing four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium should not be considered a “lone wolf.”
Bernard Cazeneuve made the statement on June 10 during an address before the French Senate about Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old alleged radical Muslim whom French and Belgian authorities believe committed the murders on May 24, the Belgian daily Le Soir reported.
Actions such as Nemmouche’s “begin a long way back,” Cazeneuve said. The processes of radicalization, he added, “have to transcend many stages,” including procuring weapons and “arriving in conflict zones or terrorism.” He concluded by saying: “What I want to say is that accomplices are important here not only in the procurement of arms that terrorists use. This leads me to think, without any reservation, that the ‘lone wolf’ is anything but.”
According to French and Belgian authorities, Nemmouche traveled from the Belgian capital to Marseille in southern France. Customs officers arrested him May 30 during a routine bag inspection and found an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun — weapons that match the type of firearms reportedly used at the museum. Nemmouche’s lawyer says his client stole the weapons from a parked car in Brussels and did not commit the murders.
A French court will determine on June 26 whether Nemmouche, who is believed to have fought with jihadists in Syria last year, is to be extradited to Belgium to face trial there. — jta