Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Al-Qaeda Gunman Mohamed Merah Kills 7 in France He Is An Ex-Con Radicalised in Prison Who Got Terror Training in Afghanistan, See His Photo
BBC NEWS...French official: Victims all shot close-range, in head. Assault on holed-up suspect in French shooting begins. Three explosions have been heard at a block of flats in the French city of Toulouse where a man suspected of killing seven people has been holed up since Wednesday morning. The blasts were accompanied by flashes of orange light. Mohammed Merah, 23, is suspected of killing four people at a Jewish school last Monday and three soldiers in two attacks last week.
The blasts sent shockwaves around the quiet residential streets around the building, reports the BBC's Christian Fraser in Toulouse. Earlier, deputy mayor Jean-Pierre Havrin told local media that "negotiations have finished and the assault has begun".
REUTERS FRANCE........For Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman suspected of killing four Jews and three Muslim soldiers in southwestern France, the road to radicalization ran from a delinquent childhood in Toulouse to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Merah, 24, who was holed up in a suburban Toulouse apartment on Wednesday, besieged by police commandos from the elite RAID unit, claimed affiliation with al Qaida and said he wanted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said.
The suspect, a French citizen of Algerian origin, had been under surveillance by France's domestic intelligence service for at least two years after being identified in Afghanistan. But back home he led a normal life of soccer and night clubbing, worked in a car body workshop, loved motorbikes and showed no sign of militancy, according to friends and neighbours who had no idea that he had been to the Asian battleground.
Merah had a string of 15 convictions by juvenile courts, mostly for theft including several involving violence, and had served 18 months in a French prison in 2007-09 which his lawyer, Christian Etelin, said may have radicalised him.
Shortly after his release, he applied to enlist in the French Foreign Legion but was rejected because of his criminal record, a military spokesman said. As police psychologists tried to talk him into surrendering peacefully, Merah gave the same impression of calm determination and self-control as the gunman on a scooter recorded by security cameras at the Ozer Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday.
The daily Le Monde said Merah had trained with Pakistani Taliban fighters in a border tribal zone before being sent into southwestern Afghanistan to fight against NATO forces supporting the Kabul government. French troops are part of that NATO operation, which may explain why the first victims of the gunman's killing spree were serving paratroopers killed in Toulouse on March 11 and Montauban on March 15.
Bill Warner Sarasota Private Investigator, SEX, CRIME, CHEATERS & TERRORISM at www.wbipi.com