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‘No evidence’ of Merah linked with al-Qaeda or other terror groups

Published: March 23, 2012
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Source: Irish Times/AP

There is no evidence that gunman Mohamed Merah had links with al-Qaeda or other terror groups, a French official has said.

The official, who is close to the investigation into Merah’s killing spree, said there is no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organised groups or jihadists”.

Merah had travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and prosecutors said Merah had claimed he had been in contact with al-Qaeda.

A little-known group claimed responsibility for the killings but the official said the claim appeared opportunistic.

Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, was killed in a gunfight with police yesterday after a 32-hour siege at his apartment in Toulouse.

Earlier France’s prime minister Francois Fillon rejected suggestions that anti-terrorism authorities fell down on the job in monitoring Merah.

Investigators were questioning Mohamed Merah’s brother as they search for possible accomplices.

Mr Fillon said president Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative government is working on new anti-terrorism legislation that would be drafted within two weeks.


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