Official: No sign French suspect had al-Qaida ties


AP

Investigators have found no signs the suspected gunman behind a deadly string of attacks in southern France was under orders from al-Qaida or any militant group, a top French official said Friday — disputing Mohamed Merah’s claim of terrorist ties before he died in a shootout with commandos.

France’s prime minister and other officials have been fending off suggestions that anti-terrorism authorities failed to adequately monitor the 23-year-old Merah, who had been known to them for years before he carried out three deadly shooting attacks this month.

Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent who claimed links to al-Qaida, was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police Thursday after a 32-hour standoff at his Toulouse apartment. Prosecutors said he filmed himself carrying out the attacks that began March 11, killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head. Another Jewish student and a paratrooper were wounded.

An autopsy of the gunman’s body showed he received two fatal bullet wounds to the left temple and to the abdomen — but that he was hit by some 20 bullets, mainly in the arms and legs, judicial and police officials said.

The head of the elite police unit, Amaury de Hauteclocque — whose mission was to take Merah alive — insisted his men fired only in self-defense.

Investigators looking for possible accomplices honed in on Merah’s 29-year-old brother, Abdelkader, and the brother’s girlfriend, described by one official as espousing an ultraconservative form of Islam. Both were detained early Wednesday, along with Merah’s mother.

The brother and girlfriend were being transferred Saturday to police anti-terrorist headquarters in Paris for further questioning. Abdelkader Merah had been implicated in a 2007 network that sent militant fighters to Iraq, but was never charged. Merah’s mother was to be released.

Meanwhile, a senior official close to the investigation told The Associated Press that despite Merah’s claims to negotiators of al-Qaida links, there was no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists.”

The former auto body worker had traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with al-Qaida in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan. He had been on a U.S. no-fly list since 2010.

The official said Merah might have made the claim because al-Qaida is a well-known “brand,” adding there was “absolutely no evidence allowing us to believe that he was commissioned by al-Qaida to carry out these attacks.”

Merah was questioned by French intelligence officers last November after his second trip to Afghanistan, and was cooperative and provided a USB key with tourist-like photos of his trip, the official told the AP.

While he was under surveillance last year, Merah was never seen contacting any radicals and went to nightclubs, not mosques, the official said. People who knew him confirmed that he was at a nightclub in recent weeks.

Merah told negotiators during the police standoff that he was able to buy a large arsenal of weapons thanks to years of petty theft, the official said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s spy chief, meanwhile, said that Merah told negotiators he attacked the Jewish school only after missing his original target — a French soldier.

“It wasn’t the school that he wanted to attack,” Ange Mancini told France-24 TV, calling the school shooting “opportunistic,” because it happened to be nearby.

That account appears to contradict Merah’s claim that his attacks were to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children as well as to protest the French army’s involvement in Afghanistan and a French law banning Islamic face veils.

The widow of the slain rabbi and mother of two of the slain children issued an emotional plea online Friday, urging Jewish parents to honor her dead family members by loving their children and teaching them to love “their fellow man.”

In a letter released on an Orthodox Jewish website, Eva Sandler wrote that the “spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished.”

“May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering,” she wrote. “I thank the Almighty for the privilege, short though it was, of raising my children together with my husband. Now the Almighty wants them back with Him.”

Sandler’s husband, Jonathan, and the couple’s sons, 5-year-old Arieh and 3-year-old Gabriel, were buried Wednesday in Jerusalem, along with 8-year-old Myriam Monsenego.

Officials painted a picture of a self-radicalized young man — the type of lone-wolf terrorist intelligence services have long most worried about, who radicalize alone and operate below the radar.

Merah told police during the standoff that he was trained “by a single person” when he was in Waziristan, not in a training center, so as not to be singled out because he spoke French,” the director of the DCRI intelligence service, Bernard Squarcini, told the Le Monde newspaper.

Some politicians, French media and Toulouse residents questioned why authorities didn’t stop Merah before he started his killing spree.

Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande said questions needed to be asked about a “failure” in counterterrorist monitoring. Other candidates posed similar questions, and even French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said “clarity” was needed on why Merah wasn’t arrested earlier.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon told RTL radio Friday that authorities “at no moment” suspected Merah would be dangerous despite his long record of crime and his time in prison.

“We must not mix religious fundamentalism and terrorism, even if naturally we well know the links that unite the two,” Fillon said.

In response to the slayings, Fillon said France’s conservative government is working on new anti-terrorism legislation that would be drafted within two weeks.

  1. #1 by Gary on March 24, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    If you believe that the police had orders to take Merah alive, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  2. #2 by michael mazur on March 24, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    His face is not that of a killer.
    We are told that his brother and his mother and the girlfriend of the brother are in custody. Why ? Not the official reason that one or more of them could have been accomplices, but that they have consistent alibis for the now dead accused man.
    What to do with them ? Throw them out of a upper storey window wouldn’t be believed. They are going to be threatened separately within an inch of their lives to never speak of him having been with them when both killing sprees occurred.
    And they will be kept for ‘questioning’ until they come to actually believe that he was not with them on those two occasions.

  3. #3 by Markschock on March 24, 2012 - 6:03 pm

    Like 9-11 the jews ,the Mossad knew about Merah’s plans ,they just let him go on to execute his plans ,it’s good for ”Israel sympathy sucking”.The French zionist secret service has funeled the informations to the govt kingpins like Sarko ,who has used the killings to boost new laws on the internet freespeach,punishing anyone who would go on internet sites that critisizes Israel,the zionist,the jews !The French state is becoming a police state like we used to see in ancient east-block where citizens were denouncing their neighbors,where a secret police was spread among the society ,scrutinizing,watching people’s speaks and actions,In Germany it is forbidden to raise the right arm ,even if you want to wave to a friend, biased minded security agents would immedialtly accuse the person on ”Hitler apology ”’In France if one dares to critisize Israel he is automaticly labeled antisemite,if one denies the fact that the SS were making soap out of jewish fat, there is a law , the Gayssot law ,jailtime and a heavy fine that goes to jewish organisations is awaiting the ””’antisemites””.Since the zionist jews control USA,France,G-B,Germany,Canada,Australia and many more,there is no doubt in my mind that the Protocols are the guiding lines of the zionist !

  4. #4 by Naeem on March 24, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    Its clear that merah was no more than a petty criminal , he must have been an informant. Anyway he was set up and i knew for a fact when they circled him in his apartment i thought they probably gonna kill him anyway. They were just making up the story as they were going along.
    http://news.yahoo.com/three-killed-shooting-outside-french-jewish-school-082330263.html
    An excerpt from the article
    “A female witness told French television the masked attacker appeared to have a tattoo on his face when he lifted his visor”.

    The reuters articles claims he never even visited afghanistan
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/france-shootings-kandahar-idINDEE82L02O20120322

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-19/three-dead-in-shooting-in-front-of-french-jewish-school-afp
    An excerpt from the article
    “The soldiers were killed on March 11 in Toulouse and on
    March 15 in Montauban, 30 miles away. In all three attacks, the
    helmeted attacker arrived and left on the same stolen scooter.
    Yesterday’s killer was a medium-sized man of EUROPEAN
    descent, witnesses told France2 television”.

    Its clear from the witnesses who were at the scene the killer was european and had a tattoo on his face. This description does not fit to mohammed merah but im very sure he was most likely an ashkenazi mossad sayan and was safely helped to flee by his fellow tribal brethren.
    Sarkozy is now playing the strongman hero and protector, but excuse me how can a man who only stands at 4foot 2 be a MAN, his a glorified midget

  5. #5 by Boxcutter McGee on March 24, 2012 - 6:35 pm

    “An autopsy of the gunman’s body showed he received two fatal bullet wounds to the left temple and to the abdomen — but that he was hit by some 20 bullets”

    Here’s how this Hollywood action sequence unfolded according to CNN;

    “The.. siege.. came to a bloody end Thursday morning when commandos shot Mohammed Merah in the head as he fired wildly back at them, authorities said.

    Merah emerged from a bathroom in his apartment and fired more than 30 shots at police as they burst in to end a standoff that had lasted more than 31 hours, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

    He jumped out a window onto a balcony, still shooting, and was found dead on the ground, officials said.”

  6. #6 by Boxcutter McGee on March 24, 2012 - 6:42 pm

    Hey Mark, can you please start providing links to the original source? The original articles are particularly difficult to track down when they originate from the wire services.

  7. #7 by Isaac on March 24, 2012 - 6:49 pm

    This is another Mossad false flag in order to take people’s civil liberties more and more.

  8. #8 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on March 25, 2012 - 1:47 am

    THE SAME BLUNDERS: PETER POWER (7/7/2005) AND CLAUDE GUILLAIN!
    THE SAME BENEFICIARIES: ISRAEL!

    JEAN MICHEL VERNOCHET

    Chinese Foreign Minister “did not beat about the bush and said this matter was a MANIPULATED matter!

    Manipulated why?

    Manipulated because of the bombimng of Ghazzah in order to amplify the victimisation of Israel with the aim of exonerating her form her past and current acts. He asked the International Community that Israel stopped bombing Ghazzah!”

    I saw the “news” blitz about the murder of a certain Mohamed Merah by the French Bolshevik Forces. It took some how many hundreds of Commissars to murder one unarmed and trapped man?

    But, what was happening in the world at the same time while the media was distracting our attention to the attack on a “HEAVILY PROTECTED” Jewish-Israeli School in France with apparently “NO SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS” at all (believed by only the dumb ones!) where two few Israeli (dual citizen) children and an Israeli teacher were killed?

    SURPRISE SURPRISE, as would write Mark Glenn, the Middle East expert on such matters,

    THE JEWS AND THE ISRAELIS WERE AT THE SAME TIME BOMBING GHAZZAH AGAIN KILLING GOD KNOWS HOW MANY MORE PALESTINIANS!

    On Wednesday 21 March 2012, French Interior Minister Claude Guillain clearly stated that Mohamed Merah was CONSTANTLY UNDER THEIR SURVEILLANCE – that of “Services de Police de la Direction Centrale du Renseignement de la Sécurité Intérieure”.

    To admit this, was a terrible blunder just like the one made by Peter Power immediately after the MOSSAD-MI6 attacks on 7 July 2005 in London.

    CUI BONO?

    In both cases it was ISRAEL!

    As a matter of fact it is ALWAYS Israel, like it was clearly admitted by Netanyahu immediately after the attacks on 11 September 2001!

    Again, it was Israel and the Jewish Lobby (American Zionist Council – to be later camouflaged as AIPAC) that benefited from the assassination of both John Fitzgerald Kennedy and of his brother Robert.

    JEW SARKOZY AND RACIST MRS LEPEN BENEFIT TOO!

    http://www.afriqueredaction.com

    - STCOM.NET

    Toulouse : La Chine Dénonce Une Manipulation
    LVO 21 mars 2012

    La Chine à déjà tout compris – CHINA HAS UNDERSTOOD IT ALL!

    Le ministre chinois des Affaires étrangères, Yang Jiechi, a annoncé mercredi dans un communiqué que l’attaque du présumé tueur est une manipulation politique visant à renforcer la victimisation d’Israël.

    Il ajoute à son communiqué son étonnement au fait qu’Israël était au courant depuis mardi de l’heure de l’assaut et que, dès lundi, les synagogues ont été mises sous haute surveillance aux états unis… Tout cela pour faire générer un drame mondial.

    Source : das-baham

    La Chine appelle Israël à cesser ses raids aériens contre Gaza
    das-baham.com

    Pékin a appelé lundi Israël à interrompre ses raids aériens dans la bande de Gaza lancés en riposte aux tirs de roquettes palestiniens, et a souhaité un cessez-le-feu sur place.

    La Chine est préoccupée par la détérioration de la situation à Gaza. Nous appelons Israël à cesser ses raids aériens contre Gaza. Nous espérons que les parties concernées vont cesser les tirs afin d’éviter des victimes parmi les civils innocents, a déclaré le porte-parole de la diplomatie chinoise, Liu Weimin.

    Il a par ailleurs annoncé la visite en Chine du 15 au 22 mars du ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères, Avigdor Lieberman. Une visite prévue de longue date, a précisé le porte-parole.
    L’Etat hébreu a multiplié ces dernières semaines les menaces d’une intervention militaire destinée à empêcher Téhéran de progresser vers l’arme atomique alors que la Chine, allié traditionnel de l’Iran, s’oppose aux sanctions contre la République islamique.

    Deux Palestiniens ont été tués lundi matin dans la bande de Gaza lors de nouveaux raids aériens israéliens, portant à 20 le nombre de Palestiniens tués depuis le début des violences vendredi, ont indiqué des sources médicales palestiniennes.

    Ce nouveau cycle de violences a été déclenché par l’élimination ciblée vendredi par Israël de Zouheir al-Qaïssi, chef des Comités de résistance populaire (CRP), mouvement basé à Gaza qui prône la lutte armée contre Israël.

    L’armée israélienne a déclaré avoir visé lors de ses raids des sites utilisés par les organisations terroristes pour lancer des roquettes à longue portée contre Israël.

    La Chine a récemment soutenu la demande d’adhésion d’un Etat de Palestine à l’ONU, en estimant qu’il s’agissait d’un droit légitime inaliénable des Palestiniens.

    On attribue le Prix Nobel de la Paix à des terroristes comme Shimon Peres, Président de l’entité d’occupation de la Palestine.

    BAFS

  9. #9 by moo on March 25, 2012 - 2:47 am

    Yet another report that doesn’t mention that he’d been to ‘israel’. How does a guy like that get in, when the mossbags double check everyone? Hollande calls it too, how does someone who is being monitored in advance, commit multiple shooting sprees?

    When the thousand-times-worse pepin-the-short-sarkozy promised the victims’ families that Murah would be brought to justice, he probably meant vengeful jewish justice, just in time for the re-election of a mass-murderer.

    Anti-terror legislation? How about anti-TRAITOR legislation.

  10. #10 by Ingrid B on March 25, 2012 - 5:57 am

    the parasites were probably scratching Sarkozy`s back..

  11. #11 by Ingrid B on March 25, 2012 - 5:59 am

    I agree with michael mazur, his face is not that of a killer..

  12. #12 by Ingrid B on March 25, 2012 - 6:00 am

    didn`t the frogs cover up stuff about the death of Diana?

  13. #13 by moo on March 25, 2012 - 7:21 am

    Sarkozy, Arab Leaders Concerned over Senussi Arrest

    ..The real reason behind Sarkozy’s concern over Senussi is because the former spy chief knows details how Libya has fund the presidential campaign of French president in 2007.

    Senussi, 62, is also reportedly known to be the one who plotted major attacks like Lockerbie, airlane blast that killed about 270 people, in addition to other conspiracies..

    Lockerbie: Case closed
    youtube.com/watch?v=XxMfxYUP6VI

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