Sunday, March 25, 2012

Updates in French jihadist Merah

His brother is now wanted, and his mother is distraught, confused by her sons actions.

From Yahoo march 24 by Johanna Decorse and Raphael Satter

French investigators focus on gunman's brother; police suspect he helped prepare attacks

PARIS - The brother of an Islamist fanatic behind a deadly shooting rampage in France celebrated his martyr-like death and may have helped him, police and a lawyer said.
Counterterrorism authorities are expected to decide early Sunday whether to file preliminary charges against 30-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who has been under questioning for four days over killings in southern France that stunned the country and refocused attention on the threat of radical Muslim militants.
His brother Mohamed Merah died in a hail of gunfire Thursday after a standoff with police during which he claimed responsibility for attacks that killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers. Merah claimed allegiance to al-Qaida and told police he travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan for training.
In Pakistan, intelligence officials said Saturday that 85 French Muslims have been training with the Taliban in northwest Pakistan and are examining whether Mohamed Merah was part of this group. Merah travelled to Pakistan in 2011 and said he trained with al-Qaida in Waziristan.
The Merahs' mother was in police custody for three days before she was released late Friday.
A lawyer for 55-year-old Zoulhika Aziri said her world had been "turned upside down." ''She is devastated," Jean-Yves Gougnaud told reporters in the southern city of Toulouse. "At no time could she have imagined that her son was the one who did it."

From the New York Post March 24
French gunman's brother 'proud' of what 'school slayer' did
TOULOUSE, France -- The older brother of the Toulouse gunman who killed seven people in France said he was "proud" of Mohammed Merah's actions, police said Saturday.

Abdelkader Merah admitted being present when the scooter used in the killings was stolen, even though he claimed he knew nothing of his brother's criminal intentions.

He and his girlfriend were taken into custody after his brother was killed trying to shoot his way out of an apartment following a 32-hour police siege.

The 23-year-old had murdered three Jewish children, a trainee rabbi and three soldiers in three separate gun attacks between Mar. 11 and Mar. 19 in the southwestern French city, shocking the country in the buildup to a presidential election.

Abdelkader Merah and his girlfriend were being transferred from Toulouse to Paris on Saturday for questioning by anti-terrorist police, a source close to the investigation said.

Police and prosecutors said the 29-year-old is a radical Islamist and that traces of what could be an explosive material were found in his car.

He and his girlfriend will be questioned at the anti-terrorist police headquarters in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Under French law, they could be held until Sunday, after which they would have to be taken before a judge in the French capital.

Mohammed Merah was alone when he carried out the killings, but there has been speculation that he had accomplices or logistical help. Investigators said he apparently lived beyond his limited means.

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