Photo: EJA
Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Didier Reynders
Photo: EJA
French to extradite suspected Brussels museum shooter
Belgium, Jewish officials hold memorial marking month to shooting; France to hand over suspected gunman Mehdi Nemmouche.

A French court has ordered the man suspected of killing four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum to be extradited to Belgium, while Belgium and Jewish officials held a memorial service for those killed in the attack.



The Versailles court decided Thursday that Mehdi Nemmouche should be handed over to Belgian authorities who are investigating last month's museum attack. Nemmouche, 29, had fought with Islamic extremists in Syria and was arrested carrying weapons resembling those used in the May 24 killings.


Meanwhile, the European Jewish Community Center (EJCC) hosted a memorial for the four killed in the shooting.



The memorial was attended by Gianni Pittella, the acting President of the European Parliament; Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the general director of the European Jewish Association; Didier Reynders, the Belgium deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs; and Philippe Markiewicz, the head of the Brussels' Jewish community.


Memorial service (Photo: EJA)
Memorial service (Photo: EJA)


European Parliament President Pittella said "We are here today pay tribute to four innocents who lost their life due to actions of one man, this act was not just against peaceful individual but an attack towards our European values.


The EU must eradicate anti-Semitism and xenophobia in any form," he said.


Victims of shooting (Photo: EJA)
Victims of shooting (Photo: EJA)


Rabbi Menachem Margolin said "It is our obligation to ensure this is not just a memorial ceremony and this act will not be forgotten… anti-Semitism is a reality we live thorough ever day… 70 years after the Holocaust we still need to fight, 40% of Jews in Europe are hiding their Judaism.


"We should remember that anti-Semitism reaches everyone and not just Jewish people… We call all European government to set up an special authority to fight against anti-Semitism. Only with action we can secure the future of the Jewish people in Europe.

Khalid Hajji, Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Didier Reynders (Photo: EJA)
Khalid Hajji, Rabbi Menachem Margolin and Didier Reynders (Photo: EJA)


Belgium's' Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who was near the scene of the shooting when it happened said "the attack is a personal one, it could have been my child or couple of friends… this is an area where I often meet family and friends. Did the fact that the target and victims were Jewish make it less stressful for me or friends of similar religious ideology? No."


Belgium's' Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (Photo: EJA)
Belgium's' Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (Photo: EJA)


"When European sees the challenges growing in face of increasing radicalism increase in very large sections of our society we must work to protect ourselves from extremist, especially if they are arms and ready to kill."


Markiewicz, who heads the local Jewish community, said "This drama is not just that of the Jewish community, but off all communities. We the Jews are not alone, when we fight back, we all fight against terrorism.


"The fight against anti-Semitism and racism passes first thought the education of youth."


Khalid Hajji, a Muslim official, also spoke at the event, and said "we have to rethink the way talk about faith… our hands are open to build a better future.:


The speakers were followed by a candle lighting ceremony. The first candle was lit by the director of the Jewish museum, Phillippe Blondin, and he was followed by the Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens and Interior Affaris Minister Joelle Milquet.


Jacques Revah, Israel's Ambassador to Belgium, lit the fourth candle, followed by Ronen Gil –Or, Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the EU. The fifth and final candle was lit by. Philippe Setton, the French ambassador and representative to the Political and Security Committee to the EU.


The Associated Press and Omer Benjakob contributed to this report


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