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´Police aren´t to blame for failing to nab suspect sooner´ (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER, JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS 03/21/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=262800 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
There was no way French security forces could have arrested the man believed to have carried out the fatal shooting at the Jewish school in Toulouse prior to the attack, said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe during a visit to Israel on Wednesday.

"It´s true that there are all sorts of lists of people who may be suspect in this or that event because of their ties to terror groups," Juppe said through a translator. "However, the link between this man - who was indeed on the list - and the attacks... that link was made only on Monday night and could have been made only after the attack."

Speaking to press at the French Ambassador´s Residence in Jaffa, the minister praised French security forces saying they did everything they could to speedily arrest the suspect believed to have committed the "acts of barbarism" at Ozar Hatorah which left four people - a teacher, his two children and another child - dead.

The suspected gunman was still holed up in a residential building after a 12-hour police siege in the city of Toulouse, France 24 reported Wednesday. The television station cited the French Interior Ministry denying reports that the gunman had been arrested.

In an unfolding drama that riveted France and the world, about 300 police, some in body armor, had cordoned off a four-story building in a suburb of Toulouse where the 24-year-old Muslim shooter, identified as Mohamed Merah, had been holed up.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was expected to speak to the nation shortly.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the gunman was a French citizen of Algerian origin who had been to Pakistan and Afghanistan and had told police negotiators he had carried out his attacks to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and because of the French army´s involvement in Afghanistan.

Authorities in Afghanistan confirmed that Merah had been arrested for bomb making in the lawless southern province of Kandahar in 2007 but escaped months later in a massive Taliban prison break.

Police removed other residents from the building and began evacuating other nearby homes. A police source had said earlier that authorities would not allow the siege to drag on indefinitely. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/21/12)


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