View Full Version : French gunman's brother "proud" of his brother's killing spree

03-24-2012, 03:01 PM

A police source said on Saturday that at a closed hearing in Toulouse he had declared himself "proud" of his brother's killings and admitted helping Mohamed steal the scooter used in all seven murders. He had denied any knowledge of his brother's murderous plans, however, the source added.

A Colt 45 pistol found in a Renault car was formally identified as the weapon used in the killing spree. The police source also said Abdelkader had acknowledged complicity in the robbery of the scooter his brother used in the three attacks.

DCRI head Bernard Squarcini told Le Monde newspaper on Friday there was no evidence Merah belonged to any radical Islamist network and he appeared to have turned fanatic alone.

Yet investigators are still trying to establish whether Merah had any logistical or ideological support or was a genuine "lone wolf."

Merah's brother, and a sister, were known to have studied the Koran in Egypt in 2010 and French police had in the past found links between them and a radical Islamist group based in southern France led by a Syrian-born Frenchman dubbed "The White Emir" by French media because of his fair hair and beard.

The shootings shifted the focus of political debate away from France's economic difficulties and played to the strengths of Sarkozy as he fights for re-election in a two-round vote in April and May.

Polls show that about two-thirds of voters approved of his handling of the Toulouse crisis, which reduced his challengers, chief among them Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande, to the role of bystander.

Sarkozy's intelligence adviser, Ange Mancini, sought to head off increasing media debate about whether Merah could have been stopped before he started killing, saying the intelligence and police services had done an "exemplary" job and that it was always easy to ask after the fact if there were flaws.

"Obviously the aim now will be to dig deeper, not just to know more about the case in question, but to see whether there are other lessons, to try to identify whether anyone else might be heading down the same road," Mancini told BFM TV.

He said Mohamed Merah appeared to have purchased guns and other weapons with around 20,000 euros ($26,500) he had seemingly accumulated from robberies or hold-ups.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said earlier this week the issue of any possible failings would have to be clarified in due course. Mancini said: "I have a lot of respect for Alain Juppe but he is not an intelligence and intervention specialist."

An opinion poll released on Saturday appeared to contradict the idea that national security had shot to the top of the agenda for voters despite a week when national and international media provided round-the-clock coverage of the killings and the siege that culminated with a shootout and death of Merah.

The Ifop polling agency said 53 percent of people believed France faced a high risk of terrorist attack. It was the lowest worry score recorded since Ifop started sounding people out on the issue at the time of the suicide airliner attacks in the United States in 2001, when the number who perceived a high risk of terror attack was 78 percent, according to IFOP.

Around 30 people, mostly young girls, held a brief rally in a heavily immigrant district of Toulouse on Saturday in memory of Mohamed Merah, who they said was one of their own regardless of what he had done.

"I think what much have influenced him was those multiple trips (abroad), that he was unable to deal with all that," said one girl, who wore a full-face veil - which is outlawed in public in France - and declined to give her name.

03-29-2012, 02:05 PM
Algeria does not want the body of the gunman: