French Islamist gunman was on U.S. ´no-fly´ list (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Anshel Pfeffer 03/23/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Toulouse, FRANCE - The French Islamist gunman who claimed
responsibility for the deaths of seven people, including one adult
and three children at a Jewish school in this city, was on a "no-fly"
list maintained by U.S. authorities, U.S. officials said.
A 32-hour siege by French police outside Merah´s home ended early
Thursday morning with a short gunfire burst, killing Merah.
According to a report in Le Monde on Thursday, Merah was not a member
of any well-known Islamic terrorist organization, but he did undergo
a process of radicalization. Merah also reportedly had entry stamps
to Israel and other countries in the region in his passport.
Merah was added to the U.S. "no fly" list some time ago, U.S.
intelligence officials told Reuters. They officials would not
disclose precisely when Merah was placed on the list.
A source familiar with the listing process said that to have been put
on the "no-fly" list, Merah would have had to have been assessed by
U.S. security officials as being capable of bringing down an airplane
Meanwhile, a little-known extremist group on Thursday claimed
responsibility for the shootings attributed to Merah, saying they
were in response to "Israel´s crimes" against the Palestinians.
"The jihadists everywhere are keen to avenge every drop of blood
unfairly shed in Palestine, Afghanistan and elsewhere in Muslim
countries," said the self-styled group, Soldiers of Caliphate, in a
statement posted on a militant website called Supporters of the
"We call on the French government to reconsider its policy against
the Muslims ... because this policy will only lead to severe
punishment and destruction," the statement said.
Merah had earlier stated he had murdered Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his
sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and 8-year-old Myriam Monsenego in the
Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. He also said he had killed three
French soldiers last week.
The commando unit that broke into Merah´s home assumed he had either
committed suicide or collapsed with exhaustion. They broke in at
11:30 A.M. Thursday, after throwing in additional stun grenades and
hearing nothing from Merah´s side.
When they reached the bathroom, Merah burst out, apparently firing
two guns at the same time at the commandos, wounding three of them.
Preliminary inquiries show he fired about 30 bullets before trying to
jump out of an open window. At that moment he was hit by fire from
the commandos and probably died instantly. The commandos fired about
300 bullets, French sources reported.
In contrast to the security forces´ assumptions, Merah prepared for
their entrance and ambushed them. He was wearing a flak jacket and
had weapons, ammunition and fire bombs at hand. Police also found
videos he took of the three attacks he had carried out earlier with
video cameras attached to his body.
In a statement made after the siege ended, French President Nicolas
Sarkozy said that Muslim citizens of France are not responsible for
the "crazy" actions of the perpetrator of the Toulouse shootings, and
that all people who consult hate or terrorism websites will be
punished by the authorities. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 03/23/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY