Two suspected accomplices arrested in Merah shootings

France 24 – December 4, 2012

French police arrested two people in connection with the attacks by extremist gunman Mohamed Merah, whose shooting spree in and around the southern city of Toulouse this year left seven people dead. One man described by police as a member of the traveller community who converted to Islam was detained on suspicion of having provided aid to Merah in carrying out the March attacks that shocked France.

He was arrested without incident at his home in the town of Albi, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Toulouse, where he was to be taken for questioning, police sources said. His former partner was arrested separately at her home in Toulouse, with police saying she may have been aware of his involvement and failed to inform authorities.

Since his shooting spree, it has become clear that Merah had been on the radar of France’s security services for years and that authorities under-estimated the extent of his radicalisation following his trips abroad. French intelligence services have been heavily criticised for failing to realise the threat posed by Merah.