Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting..
(photo credit: BELGIUM POLICE)
A Belgian court on Thursday convicted French citizen Mehdi Nemmouche of "terrorist murder" for the shooting deaths of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, Belgian news agency Belga reported.
The four victims were Israeli couple Miriam and Emmanuel Riva, along with a young Belgian employee of the museum, Alexandre Strens, and French volunteer Dominique Sabrier.
Sentencing in the weeks-long jury trial will be announced at a later date.
The shooting attack in the museum in May 2014 was the first to underscore the threat posed by Islamist militants returning to their home countries in Europe after fighting in Syria's war.
The court rejected the claim made by Nemmouche's defense lawyers that he is a victim of a plot involving the Mossad.
World Jewish Congress [WJC] CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer welcomed the decision made by the court adding that “It is regrettable that this trial was replete with unbelievable conspiracy theories and demonization of Israel on the part of certain attorneys and the suspect."
Belgium recently made headlines around the world when it was revealed that during a festival in the town of Aalst puppets of Jews and a rat atop money bags were used in the float.
The float in question is titled “Shabbat Year” and was prepared by the Vismooil’n carnival group. It featured two giant puppets with sidelocks and streimels, hats favored by some Orthodox Jews, in pink suits. One is grinning while smoking a cigar. That puppet has a white rat on his right shoulder. Both puppets are standing on gold coins and have money bags at their feet.
On a wheeled platform directly behind the float were several dozen people dressed like the puppets, dancing to a song about full coffers that are “Jewishly beautiful” and about “getting extra fat.”
The annual carnival where the display appeared was added in 2010 to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. The organization has not replied to numerous critical questions about the Aalst event on social media.
Reuters contributed to this article.
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