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June 2, 2014

Alleged Brussels Jewish Museum Shooter May Have Fought in Syria

Nemmouche 2

Mehdi Nemmouche

The suspected gunman in the May 24 attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Mehdi Nemmouche, reportedly spent about a year in Syria, where French and Belgian officials say he may have fought with the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), a terrorist organization formerly associated with Al Qaeda.

The connection may substantiate fears that westerners fighting in Syria could return to attempt attacks in their home countries. Nemmouche’s choice to attack a Jewish museum may also further demonstrate the connection between terrorist ideology and anti-Semitism.

Nemmouche was arrested in France on Friday. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of considerable ammunition, including a Kalashnikov rifle wrapped in a sheet with the ISIS symbol and the words “God is great.” He also had a video recorder on which he had apparently claimed credit for the attack and said he wanted to “kill Jews” and to “set fire to Brussels and fill it with blood.”

A native of France, Nenmouche is believed to have been radicalized in prison and to have left for Syria only three weeks after his release in 2012. French and Belgian officials claim there is evidence that he fought with ISIS while he was there.

The shooting in the museum resulted in 3 deaths and 1 person injured. It bears resemblance to a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France in 2012 by Mohamed Merah. Merah, a French citizen, had spent time with extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan before returning to France and perpetrating the attack.

As many as 3,000 Europeans and 100 Americans are believed tohave travelled to join the conflict in Syria. This travel is only increasing as  groups utilize social media and online propaganda to recruit followers.

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December 23, 2013

Newly Designated African Terror Group Targets Israel And Jews

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, also known as 'the one-eyed',  who broke away from Aqim to form al-Mulathamin

Mokhtar Belmokhter

The West African al-Mulathamun Battalion, classified last week by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), has a record of targeting Israel, threatening Jews and utilizing anti-Zionist rhetoric to inspire its followers.

In 2011, the group’s leader Mokhtar Belmokhter said that his followers tried “to kill the ambassador of the Zionist entity” in a drive-by shooting of the Israeli embassy in Mauritania. In addition to the embassy, they also shot at a nightclub that Belmokhtar claimed the ambassador had been in moments before.

In December 2012, within a month of formally breaking away from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, with which they had been affiliated, the al-Mulathamun Battalion spokesman said, “I hope that France realizes that it is going to have dozens of Mohammed Merhas and Khaled Kelkals.” Readers may recall, Mohammed Merah attacked students at the Otzar HaTorah Jewish school in France in March, 2012, and Khaled Kelkal took part in a series of bombings in France in 1995 that included the bombing of a Jewish school in Lyon.

In August 2013, the al-Mulathamun Battalion created an alliance with an organization called the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which has also been designated by the State Department as an FTO. The alliance’s stated raison d’etre was “to confront the Zionist campaign against Islam and Muslims.”

Such anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric and threats are common for Islamist terrorist organizations.

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