Alleged accomplice of Jewish museum murderer denies charges

Alleged accomplice to Jewish museum murders in Brussels says he is not a jihadist.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels
Entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels

A man on trial as the alleged accomplice to the Jewish museum murders in Brussels denied on Wednesday any role in the 2014 shootings and said he was not a jihadist, AFP reports.

Prosecutors told the court that Nacer Bendrer had been flagged years before the attack as a jihadist while in a French prison with Mehdi Nemmouche, the accused museum gunman whose lawyers claimed on Tuesday that he was not the killer.

"I'm not a terrorist, not a jihadist. I am innocent," Bendrer told the court on Wednesday. "Terrorists are sons of b***hes."

Prosecutors said French prison authorities pointed out Bendrer "had been flagged since 2010 as a radicalized prisoner" in the southern French town of Salon-de-Provence.

Bendrer, suspected of having supplied Nemmouche the attack weapons, told the court he was "shocked and annoyed" when he learned of the shootings that killed four people on May 24, 2014.

Upon cross-examination, he admitted having travelled to the Belgian capital in April 2014 to meet Nemmouche, thinking the latter had a drugs-related deal in mind.

Nemmouche, who is French like Bendrer, drove him to his apartment in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek to ask him for a Kalachnikov, he said.

In the following days, he said Nemmouche called him several times -- investigators say there were 46 phone calls in two weeks in April 2014 -- to ask him if he had been able to find weapons.

"I did not find (them). I really could not have cared less," Bendrer said, according to AFP.

"It's like with a girl. When you don't answer, she understands," he added.

Nemmouche, 33, on Tuesday denied charges he was the gunman who killed an Israeli couple, a Belgian receptionist and a French volunteer at the museum.

He then refused for now to answer questions in the case, accusing the authorities of striking witnesses from the list who could help his defense.

Nemmouche and Bendrer face life in prison if convicted of charges of terrorist murder.

Nemmouche was arrested six days after the attack in the southern French port city of Marseille and sent to Belgium two months later.

After his arrest, reports surfaced that Nemmouche had been planning to launch a terror attack along the Champs Elysees, the Fifth Avenue of Paris, on France’s biggest national holiday.

In 2016, a Belgian court backed the eventual extradition of Nemmouche to France, where he is suspected of being among the captors of four French journalists who were kept hostage in Syria.