Court artist's drawing of Mehdi Nemmouche during his murder trial
Court artist's drawing of Mehdi Nemmouche during his murder trialReuters

Mehdi Nemmouche, the French jihadist who shot dead four people in a terrorist attack at the Jewish museum in Brussels, was sentenced to life in prison by a court on Monday night, AFP reports.

A jury last week convicted Nemmouche of "terrorist murder" for the anti-Semitic gun rampage in the Belgian capital on May 24, 2014, a crime committed following his return from Syria's battlefields.

Nacer Bendrer, who was found guilty of being the co-author of the attack for supplying the weapons Nemmouche used, was handed a jail sentence of 15 years, according to AFP.

Earlier on Monday, Nemmouche joked in court that "life goes on" as prosecutors demanded he be jailed for life.

Prosecutors say the 2014 attack was the first carried out in Europe by a jihadist returning to the continent after fighting in Syria.

The Brussels killings came 18 months before the November 2015 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead.

Nemmouche denied the charges against him, with his lawyers alleging that the museum shooting was not the work of the Islamic State group but a possible "targeted execution" aimed at Mossad agents.

Nemmouche was arrested six days after the May 24, 2014 attack in the southern French port city of Marseille and sent to Belgium two months later, where he faces trial at an unspecified date in the future.

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.