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Jewish museum attacker Nemmouche questioned in France over Syria kidnappings

Yves Capelle, REUTERS | A court drawing of Mehdi Nemmouche during his Belgium trial over the 2014 Jewish Museum attack in Brussels, on January 10, 2019.

Belgian authorities transferred Mehdi Nemmouche, the French jihadist who killed four people at a Jewish museum in 2014, to Paris for questioning over his suspected role in the kidnapping of four journalists in Syria in 2013, a source said Friday.

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Nemmouche, 34, was sentenced to life in prison in March for the anti-Semitic rampage in Brussels, when he gunned down two Israeli tourists, a French volunteer and a young Belgian employee.

The museum attack came after his return from Syria's battlefields, where Nemmouche is accused of acting as the jailer of four French journalists taken hostage by jihadists in the northern city of Aleppo in 2013.

During his Brussels trial two of the journalists testified they had no doubt Nemmouche was one of their captors.

He was brought to France on Wednesday and is being held at the Meaux-Chauconin prison east of Paris, the legal source said, confirming a report in French magazine L'Express.

Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer, his accomplice in the museum attack, were already expected to serve their sentences in France.

Even before the Brussels trial a French judge had summoned Nemmouche to France for questioning about the kidnapping, but he had refused to speak.

The journalists were held by the Islamic State group in Aleppo for 13 months until their release in April 2014, when they were found blindfolded and with their hands bound in the no-man's land on the border between Syria and Turkey.

Nicolas Henin, one of the kidnapped journalists, described Nemmouche in a magazine article later that year as "a self-centred fantasist for whom jihad was finally an excuse to satisfy his morbid thirst for notoriety. A young man lost and perverse."

(AFP)

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