Mehdi Nemmouche stayed in Brussels for nearly two months before the Jewish Museum attack
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    Mehdi Nemmouche stayed in Brussels for nearly two months before the Jewish Museum attack

    The indictment revealed relevant information regarding the whereabouts and the contacts of Mehdi Nemmouche leading up to the attack.

    Mehdi Nemmouche went to Belgium a little over two months before the attack in the Jewish Museum, as emerges from the indictment which federal judges resumed reading out on Thursday afternoon, before the Brussels Criminal Court. From the end of March 2014 until the end of May 2014, he rented a room in a block of flats located on Rue Saint-Joseph in Molenbeek. He had previously spent a night in a youth hostel. 

    The owner of the block of flats in which Mehdi Nemmouche lived is one Tarak Smirani. He contacted the authorities after recognising his tenant in a wanted notice, circulated after the attack.

    Initially Mehdi Nemmouche rented a room for a month. At the beginning of April he extended his stay in another room in the block of flats, whilst alerting his owner that he had to return to France to see his sick father.

    Tarak Smirani did not then next see the defendant until 24 May, some hours after the Jewish Museum killings. Mehdi Nemmouche requested his help to purchase a bus ticket to Marseille, which in the end did not materialize. At the same time, the tenant stated that he was soon going to be leaving the premises.

    After the publication of the wanted notice, the wife of Tarak Smirani recalled encountering Nemmouche near to the block of flats between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – less than an hour after the incident. She said that he was wearing a dark suit and carrying three bags. He appeared to be in a hurry.

    During the search, the investigators went on to find, in the bin of Mehdi Nemmouche’s bedroom, the packaging for SIM cards discovered on him at the time of his arrest in Marseille, as well as a shoebox corresponding to the shoes that he was wearing. Traces of trainer material can also be linked “with certainty” to a pair found in his bags on 30 May.

    Both the day following the attack, and indeed two days after, Mehdi Nemmouche met purchasers of items to whom he respectively sold a GoPro camera and a games console.

    Mobile telephone investigations revealed that during April of that year, the defendant had several contacts with two of his former fellow inmates, Mounir Attallah and Nacer Bendrer.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times