ISIS Soldier Behind Brussels Jewish Museum Killings, Says France’s Hollande
Mehdi Nemmouche, the primary suspect in the Brussels Jewish Museum shooting of four people, including two Jews, last month, was a jihadist fighter for ISIS, the former al-Qaeda affiliate that is seeking to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, French President François Hollande on Thursday told a visiting delegation from Jewish human rights group The Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC dean, told The Algemeiner that Hollande confirmed the detail now being released from the prosecutor’s investigation into Nemmouche, connecting him to the violent jihadist group whose profile was raised this week after taking the Iraqi city of Mosul and large swaths of western Iraq.
Hollande said that, according to the French prosecutor, Nemmouche went to Syria in January to join ISIS. After several months, he left for Germany and then to France.
When Nemmouche was arrested on May 30 at the Marseille bus station, he was carrying a white cloth with the name of ISIS on it.
Despite his arrest, police fear that any of the 780 French jihadists returning from the war in Syria might also try to continue their fight. In response, Jewish synagogues and community centers in Marseille were under police guard.
This week, Michèle Teboul, the leader of a regional Jewish organisation, was quoted as saying that Marseille’s 80,000-member Jewish community had no alternative other than to “bunkerize.” The city has 850,000 people, a quarter of whom are Muslim.
The advance of ISIS on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has highlighted the strength of their fighting force, estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers, according to an editorial in The Wall Street Journal.
In Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front, the Free Syrian Army, and ISIS are fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Army, as well as each other, while the Islamic Front and the Free Syrian Army work together to attack ISIS.
In Iraq, ISIS’s looting of some $400 million in Mosul is adding to their threat, which Iran has responded to by dispatching three battalions of its overseas Quds Forces.
“Faced with the threat of Sunni extremists eclipsing the power of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated rulers, Shiite Iran sprang into action to aid its besieged Arab ally,” the WSJ wrote in a separate article. “At least three battalions of the Quds Forces, the overseas branch of the Revolutionary Guards, were dispatched to Iraq, Iranian security officials said. Two units, dispatched from Iran on Wednesday, were tasked with protecting Baghdad and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf. Gen. Qasem Sulaimani, the commander of the Quds Forces and one of the region’s most powerful military figures, traveled to Baghdad this week to help manage the swelling crisis.”
Foreign Policy published findings from a Rand Corporation study, comparing global terror groups in 2007 with 2013, and found that, “Our enemies have sustained our blows, adapted, and grown” since the U.S. Army’s entrance in Iraq 13 years ago.
“In 2007 there were 28 Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. In 2013 there were 49,” Foreign Policy said. “In 2007, these groups conducted 100 attacks. In 2013 they conducted 950. In 2007 there were between 18,000 and 42,000 terrorists active. In 2013 there were between 44,000 and 105,000.”