Suspect in Mehra affaire arrested

Le Monde

18.05.2012

A 25-year-old man was arrested for suspected complicity in Mohammed Mehra’s attacks in Toulouse last year, which killed 7 people.  The man was taken to court and presented to an anti-terrorism related judge at the High Court of Paris. He is accused of having been complicit in the theft of the scooter, which Mehra later used to commit his killing spree.  Unlike Mehra’s brother, who is being imprisoned since more than a year for complicity in the killing, the 25-year-old is believed to not have been informed about Mehra’s assassination plans. According to his lawyer, the suspect denies to have been aware of any of the plans and repeatedly condemned Mehra’s actions.

Merah affaire reaffirms resentment in Toulouse

Following Mohamed Merah’s killing spree that caused the death of three French soldiers, three Jewish school children and a rabi on 11 March and 19 March 2012, expressions of radicalism against both Muslims and Jews  have increased in and around Toulouse. In a report published by Libération, local authorities have revealed to have dealt with a number of incidents of radical grafiti that sometimes even glorified the hate crimes of Merah.

According to local prefect Henri-Michel Comet, expressions of violence against Islam and Judaism have dramatically increased after Merah’s attack. Toulouse’s district attorney Michel Valet further states that ‘’the Merah affair was a revelation and amplifier of the behaviour of some frail people’’.

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.

French intelligence curtailed tracking of Toulouse gunman

French intelligence services curtailed supervision of Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah a few months before his shooting spree in Toulouse despite his known links to extremists, according to leaked documents. The reports from France’s DCRI domestic intelligence service, seen by AFP, show that Merah was under intense surveillance throughout 2011 but that agents decided to reduce monitoring.

They show that Merah, who had been under surveillance since 2006, was identified as a “privileged target” at the beginning of last year after returning from a trip to Afghanistan, where he was detained in November 2010. Surveillance from March to July indicated he was in regular contact with “the radical Islamist movement in Toulouse”, said he was showing “paranoid behaviour” and that he was receiving funds from extremists.

French intelligence services have been repeatedly criticised for failing to prevent Merah’s attacks. Merah, a self-described Al-Qaeda sympathiser, shot a rabbi, three Jewish schoolchildren and three French paratroopers in attacks in and around the southern city of Toulouse in March, before being shot dead in a police siege.

Trial of Mohammed Merah’s brother in France

News Agencies – September 10, 2012

 

French judges grilled the brother of Mohammed Merah, the al Qaeda-inspired terrorist who carried out a series of deadly shootings in Toulouse last March. Abdelkader Merah has denied being complicit in his brother’s deadly acts and has told judges he had no part in the series of deadly shootings that claimed lives of seven people in Toulouse earlier this year.

 

Abdelkader Merah, 29, faced lengthy questioning by specialist anti-terrorist judges for the first time on Monday. His 23-year-old sibling was behind the cold-blooded killing of three Jewish children, a Rabbi and three soldiers in and around the southwestern city of Toulouse in March this year.

Abdelkader has been held in custody since the killings on suspicion of complicity in terrorism, murder and theft. He is currently the only suspect in custody for an alleged role in the murders. His lawyer, Eric Dupond-Moretti, rejected the accusations, saying his client “absolutely contests the charge of complicity to murder, which is not based on any objective element.”

According to a police source in March, Abdelkader admitted to being present on March 6 when his younger brother stole the scooter used in all of the attacks, but claimed he did not realise it was to be used to carry out a shooting spree. He was also grilled over his extreme religious beliefs.

Toulouse hostage gunman, claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, arrested

News Agencies – June 20, 2012

French police have detained a gunman who held four people hostage at a bank in the southern city of Toulouse for almost seven hours. The man initially demanded money but when he was refused, a shot was fired and the hostages taken. Claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, he demanded to speak to the elite Raid police unit that killed Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah nearby in March.

He freed two hostages before police stormed the bank and detained him. The gunman was said to have been wounded in the thigh, but not seriously. His two remaining hostages are not thought to have been harmed.

A police union source told the regional newspaper Ouest-France it was not clear whether the man’s claim about al-Qaeda was “serious or a fantasy”. The hostage-taker was believed to be around 30 years old and known to the authorities, Toulouse newspaper La Depeche reported. He was from Castres, to the east of Toulouse, and one source told the paper he was a schizophrenic who had broken off his treatment.

Indian Embassy in Paris fully alert to security after news of planned attack

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

With reports of a terror attack plot being unearthed against its Embassy in Paris, India said the mission has been “fully alert” to security issues and was in touch with relevant French authorities in this regard. According to a media report, 23-year-old Algerian origin terrorist Mohamed Merah was found to have been plotting to attack the Indian Embassy in Paris on the direction of his Taliban handlers in Pakistan. Merah was was shot dead by French special forces two months ago.

 

Merah was killed after police and special forces laid an almost 32-hour siege of his apartment in Toulouse, after his armed attacks on a Jewish school and killing of army personnel outside their barracks on March 15.

100 Muslims protest against religious radicalism in Paris

May 4, 2012

 

A hundred Muslims gathered on the steps of the Opera Bastille in Paris to “say no to religious radicalism” and proclaimed their attachment to France and the values of the Republic.

 

With French flags on their jackets and under a banner saying “Together against fanaticism”, demonstrators observed a moment of silence in memory of “Children of Toulouse and Montauban,” victims of Mohamed Merah, responsible for seven murders in both cities in March, and who claimed, according to the Interior Minister, Claude Gueant, to have links with Al Qaeda.

Merah wannabee pulls gun on Paris Metro

News Agencies – April 13, 2012

 

Police in Paris arrested a man who took out a pistol and threatened commuters on one of the capital’s busiest Metro lines, ligne 13. The 30-year-old unidentified man of Moroccan origin, was detained by police mid-morning between Metro stations Saint-Denis Basilique and Université.
  According to an official source, he pulled out a Colt 45 and began to threaten a passenger saying “I am Mohamed Merah and I am going to kill you “ in reference to the young Islamist killed by police in Toulouse three weeks ago after the murder of seven people.

 

Disaster was avoided when one of the passengers pulled the emergency cord and the man used the opportunity to escape into a train tunnel where he was eventually caught by police. The man, who refused at first to reveal his identity, is already known to the authorities in connection with a number of petty crimes.

Arrest without bail for the Al-Qaeda librarian

The head of the Central Court of Instruction, Pablo Ruz, has ordered the prison without bail of Mudhar Hussein Almalki, considering that there is evidence that he was engaged in internet broadcasting of all types of Salafi-jihadi exaltation materials, and manuals on making explosives, gases or poisons.
The judge understood that Hussein Almalki, arrested Tuesday in Valencia, may belong and exercise “activities as a veteran and prominent member of the jihadist support group Ansar Al Mujaideen, following the guidelines and instructions from Al Qaeda.”
Among the numerous documents seized, there was a post of support and exaltation of Mohamed Merah, author of the slaughter of Toulouse.