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Entries in Mohammed Merah (3)

Tuesday
Mar272012

Video of French Shootings Won’t Be Aired, Network Says

ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Before he was killed by French special forces, the man accused of murdering Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and soldiers in France was allegedly able to get a video of his brutal attacks to a major news organization.  But that video will not be aired, the organization said.

Al-Jazeera, an Arabic- and English-language news outlet based in Qatar, said on Tuesday it will not air a video received by mail called “Al Qaeda Attacks France” that shows the three attacks in Toulouse and Montauban attributed to Mohamed Merah.  The network decided not to air the video because it “did not add any information that was not already in [the] public domain… [and] did not meet the television station’s code of ethics for broadcast," according to a statement posted on its website.

Al-Jazeera’s Paris bureau chief, Zied Tarrouche, told a French television station the video contained edited footage of the killings along with music, religious singing and readings from the Quran.

“You can hear the gunshots at the time of the killings,” he told BFM-TV.  “You can hear the cries of the victims.”

In the statement, Al-Jazeera said the video did not show Merah’s face, nor did it contain a statement from him.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the filming of the shootings “diabolical” and had asked the managers of any television stations that had the footage “not to air them under any circumstances out of respect for the victims and out of respect for the Republic [of France].”

While police believe Merah was the lone gunman in the killings, they said he did not send the video and now authorities are trying to track down a possible accomplice, according to French media reports.

Merah, 23, was killed last week after a 32-hour standoff with French special forces.  French authorities believe Merah was responsible for three separate attacks in France -- the shooting of three French paratroopers on March 11 and 15, and then the murder of a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren ages 4, 5 and 7 on March 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

French School Shooting Suspect Dead, Ending Standoff

Getty Images(TOULOUSE, France) -- The man believed to be behind the killings of seven people in Toulouse, France, is dead after a two-day standoff with police.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant delivered a statement early Thursday, declaring Mohammed Merah had died.

Gueant said special forces were instructed Thursday to enter his apartment -- where Merah had been holed up since the standoff began on Wednesday -- because he was "dangerous" and threatened to kill police officers.

The interior minister said authorities at first could not locate Merah, who was hiding in the bathroom and later emerged, shooting "madly at everyone."  Merah then jumped out of a window to his death, weapons still in hand, according to Gueant.

Two police officers were reportedly injured in the raid, though neither critically.

The initial plan was to take 24-year-old Merah alive in order to question him about his alleged ties to al Qaeda and whether others were involved in Monday's shooting at a Jewish school that left a rabbi and three children dead, and two separate incidents last week that resulted in the deaths of three paratroopers.

But Gueant raised the possibility Wednesday night that the suspected gunman, who claimed to have been trained by al Qaeda during trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan, might kill himself rather than be taken into custody.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar212012

Toulouse Massacre Suspect Surrounded; Claims Al Qaeda Ties 

Stringer/Getty Images UPDATE: French prosecutor Francois Molins said that 24-year-old suspect Mohammed Merah had taken responsibility for the attacks, and had been planning to "act again by killing a soldier whom he had already identified" and two Toulouse police officers. Molins also said a camera had been found in a bag belonging to Merah, and that Merah claimed to have uploaded footage of his attacks on the web, though no trace has yet been found of the videos.

(TOULOUSE, France)-- French special forces have surrounded a five-story apartment building in Toulouse where the suspect wanted for the murder of three French soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren has now been holed up for more than ten hours.

According to French media, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Jewish community leaders that 24-year-old suspect Mohammed Merah had been stopped before he could carry out another terror attack planned for Wednesday.

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Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, is heavily armed and has already wounded two officers in a shoot out with police. According to French authorities, Merah may have spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, claims to have ties to al Qaeda and says he acted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest France's involvement in Afghanistan. Merah has thrown a Colt .45 out the window of the building, but is reportedly still armed with a Kalashnikov, an Uzi and several handguns.

In three separate attacks since March 11, the lone gunman on a motorcycle has killed seven people and wounded four others. In each case, the gunman arrived on a Yamaha scooter and shot the victims in the head at close range with a Colt .45. Three paratroopers, all of North African descent, died in the first two attacks, while an attack on the Ozar Hatorah school Monday morning took the lives of a rabbi and three children.

Investigators tracked Merah down, according to authorities, because one of his brothers allegedly asked a motorcycle sales assistant how to modify the GPS tracker on a motorbike, raising suspicions. The sales assistant contacted the police.

Hundreds of police officers carried out the raid Wednesday morning and evacuated the apartment building, escorting residents out using the roof and fire truck ladders.

Prior to the siege, an unidentified caller told a French television network that he had filmed the attacks and that the footage would be placed on the Web. On Tuesday, a French official said that a witness had reported seeing what appeared to be a small camera hanging from the neck of the shooter at the Jewish school.

French interior minister Claude Gueant said Merah had made several visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was arrested in Kandahar a few years ago and had been on their watch list for years.

President Sarkozy reportedly told Jewish community leaders that Merah had planned to "kill a member of the military" on Wednesday.

While police were surrounding Merah in Toulouse, the victims of the shootings at the Ozer Hatorah school were buried in Jerusalem. Thousands of mourners gathered to pay their respects in an emotional ceremony. A funeral for the three members of the military gunned down was underway in Mautauban, attended by President Sarkozy and his two main rivals in France's upcoming presidential election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio