´Police aren´t to blame for failing to nab suspect sooner´ (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER, JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS 03/21/12)
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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
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
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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