French jihadist’s DNA, fingerprints were on Brussels museum attack weapons
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French jihadist’s DNA, fingerprints were on Brussels museum attack weapons

Mehdi Nemmouche accused of being the first Syrian jihad veteran to carry out an attack in Europe, faces life sentence if convicted of 2014 shooting that killed 4

A court sketch made on January 10, 2019 shows Mehdi Nemmouche (C), accused of the terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, during his trial at the Brussels Justice Palace. (Benoit PEYRUCQ / AFP)
A court sketch made on January 10, 2019 shows Mehdi Nemmouche (C), accused of the terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, during his trial at the Brussels Justice Palace. (Benoit PEYRUCQ / AFP)

A Frenchman on trial for shooting dead four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels left his fingerprints and DNA on the weapons used in the terror attack, prosecutors said Friday.

Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, listened to the case unfolding against him on the second day of his trial for the cold-blooded murders in the Belgian capital on May 24, 2014.

“Little by little they are putting the puzzle together,” said lawyer Guillaume Lys of a French terror victims association which is a civil party to the trial.

Both Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer, a fellow Frenchman aged 30 who allegedly supplied the weapons, face life in prison if convicted of charges of terrorist murder.

Reading the charge sheet, a prosecutor told the Brussels criminal court that investigators lifted Nemmouche’s fingerprints from the barrel of the pistol he used in the museum attack.

A Jewish boy standing with flowers in front of an Israeli flag and flowers laid outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels, where a deadly shooting took place two days before, May 26, 2014. (AFP/Belga/Anthony Dehez)

The prosecutor added they also found his DNA on a Kalashnikov rifle, the second weapon used.

Both were found in Nemmouche’s possession when he was arrested upon arriving on a bus from Brussels in the southern French port of Marseille six days after the attack, investigators say.

The prosecutor added investigators found gunpowder residue on a blue jacket among his belongings. The museum shooter was seen wearing a similar jacket.

Investigators also studied videos from a laptop found in his possession where they heard an “imperious and guttural” voice claiming responsibility for the killings, the prosecution said.

Experts identified the voice as Nemmouche’s, it added.

Four French journalists who were taken hostage in Syria in 2013 also attributed the voice to Nemmouche, who they allege was one of their jailers, the prosecution said.

Policemen stand guard around the site of a shooting near the Jewish Museum in Brussels, on May 24, 2014. (AFP/Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck)

The trial is due to resume on Tuesday when Nemmouche’s lawyers present their defense strategy and their client takes the stand for questioning.

The case is the first allegedly carried out on European soil by a jihadist returning from Syria.

More than 300 Belgian and foreign journalists have registered to cover the museum attack trial, which could last until the end of February or early March.

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