The 23 year old petty thief who killed three Jewish children and their teacher had accumulated a deadly arsenal and lived a life at odds with his unemployed status. How could this have happened under the nose of the intelligence services?
The murder of three Jews and one teacher who would never have taken place, it became clear this weekend, if the Toulouse Mohamed Merah gunman had killed his initial goal on Monday. Before being killed in a shooting at his apartment, told police Merah is not intended to kill his victims in a school in the French southern city, but there was "improvised" after missing the opportunity to kill a French soldier.
school killings, following previous Merah execution style killing of three soldiers who served in Afghanistan, traumatized France before the presidential election.
During a 32-hour siege, told police after shooting three parachutists who had already identified another member of the armed forces in Toulouse that his next target. After climbing to kill the man on Monday morning, he discovered that his fate had left home earlier than expected. In the heat of the moment, given the great-power scooter Merah and went to a Jewish school nearby. He came out and put the bike on the shooting range before the three children under ten years of waiting for a bus.
also revealed how Merah, who said he was a marginal group linked to al Qaeda, had misled investigators after being summoned to explain visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan in November. The 23-year-old said he went on vacation to find a girlfriend and showed them he had charge of tourism snaps into a pen drive to check its history.
Once released, began to collect an arsenal of weapons Merah which are then used in his murder, three pistols, Colt .45 and a Uzi and a pump shotgun.
Merah brother of Abdelkader, and brother of the bride, who were arrested Wednesday, were transferred to Paris for questioning by French specialists on terrorism agents. Abdelkader, 29, said to have refused to promote Merah to commit murder, but reportedly said he was "proud" of their actions. Merah mother, who was arrested at the same time, was released yesterday. Police are trying to determine whether it had any help in achieving the murders, which have refocused attention on the threat of radical Muslim terrorists.
Squarcini Bernard, head of the intelligence services of France, told the story Merah after he was taken for interrogation in November was convincing, saying he had shown "excellent cooperation, education and courtesy. "
Merah was killed in a hail of fire in his apartment in the southwestern French city of Toulouse. He hung up and hid in the bathroom, hoping to deceive the police think he committed suicide. When police entered the apartment started shooting in all directions. Merah has presented a series of obstacles, including a washer and a large black leather sofa. On the balcony of the apartment were making materials petrol pumps.
The revelations raise questions about how Merah has assembled an arsenal of weapons - and while the benefits of unemployed - without arousing the suspicions of the intelligence services that were supposed to keep him under surveillance. Research will focus on how unemployed petty thief could afford ? 500 (£ 418) per month flat and rented a garage and two cars.
The autopsy revealed that his body was riddled with 30 bullets. One in the head and a second in the abdomen that would have been fatal. A total of 300 rounds were fired by Merah and police during the operation at the end of the seat. French researchers say they found no evidence that Merah was connected to a group of al Qaeda.
The identity of the murderer was greeted with dismay by the Muslim community in France. "Until then, had been praying, praying there was someone with foreign roots, a Muslim," says Khadija Ba, defender of a French woman who was born in Morocco. "When they said his name, our hearts sank Then we knew that once again be blamed for the terrible murders. The error." He added:
"It was a French citizen, who killed the other French citizens, but all I heard was that his name was Mohamed, was a Muslim."
The killings have also transformed the approach of the first round of presidential elections in April. Before Toulouse, the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, makes most of the polls to become the next president of France. The expected margin between Holland and the current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was close to the first round on April 22, but all investigations Holland gave a clear majority in the second round two weeks later.
After Toulouse, Super Sarkozy "President Protector" - as described by one analyst - is back. Crime and safety are the specialty of Sarkozy. Last week, the confrontation between police and triggered memories Merah longest siege ever in France in 1993, when a man took hostage the children in a nursery school in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur- Seine where Sarkozy was mayor. He convinced the attacker, who was later shot by the police to release several children, and most of France, still remembers the pictures of Sarkozy, who leaves school.
"Does it change the election? It changes everything 100%," said Ali. "And I could not have come at a better time for Nicolas Sarkozy. The sad thing is that it was to divide the country, turning right, long before it happened."
Thierry de la Cruz, 54, the principal of a school, said: "The problem is that Sarkozy is seeking the votes of the extreme right, picking up their songs and now you will find these votes It plays a lot .. in favor of Sarkozy. He played on the fears and these fears have come true. For those who expect to be elected Holland, which is far from over today. When we learned that the suspect's name was Muhammad, well, it was a gift to the right. "
Even before the shooting in Toulouse, Sarkozy has been gradually increasing in the polls. The trend seems to continue after Toulouse, but Frederic Dabi, IFOP pollsters said it was too early and too "prudent" to make predictions about its effect on voters.
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