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Italian Newspaper: Merah was French Intelligence Asset

Published: March 27, 2012
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Source: Il Foglio

The case of Mohammed Merah, this young French of Algerian descent who claimed the killing of seven people in Toulouse and Montauban on behalf of Al Qaeda, triggering a war between various secret services. According to sources of information confided in Il Foglio, the Directorate General for External Security (DGSE), the French agency charged with espionage and counter-terrorism outside the borders, would have guaranteed Merah - in his capacity as an informant - access to Israel in September 2010 by a checkpoint at the Jordanian border. The French would have stayed there three days in "tourist" before returning to Jordan and then to head to Afghanistan. Its entry into Israel, covered by the French, had to prove the ability of jihadist network to easily pass the borders with a European passport.

These statements have not been officially confirmed, but an article published Monday in Haaretz , quoting sources from the Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet, however, seems to give credence to this thesis. The article relays the words of the Israeli government that confirms entry into its territory of Merah, but the Shin Bet argues that there is no record of the arrest of the French in Jerusalem in possession of a knife, as 'said Bernard Squarcini, head of the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI) in Le Monde .

Furthermore, doubts remain about visiting Merah in the Occupied Territories. To summarize: we have two conflicting versions. It is unclear whether Merah was indeed arrested and where it is specifically made, and the Shin Bet contradicts its French equivalent. Same confusion on the side of Pakistan's military intelligence. Last week, when the French media have written that Merah went twice to train in centers in Waziristan [mountainous north-west Pakistan], the Pakistani government has denied: "We have no trace of its entry into the country. "

But since Sunday [March 25], the secret services and the Pakistani Taliban, whose ties based on alliances and favors exchanged were established, became surprisingly garrulous. A spokesman for the Taliban in Waziristan, Ahmed Marwat, contacted news agencies Reuters and Associated Press to declare that indeed Merah had trained at home, thus contradicting the French government officially supports the Toulouse "has not led and has not been in contact with jihadi groups." Marwat added, however: "We know nothing of the attacks in France. It has nothing to do with us."

The same day, two Pakistani officials have contacted services Ishtiaq Mahsud, Associated Press correspondent in Dera Ismail Khan, a small town [on the border with Punjab province] Waziristan, to explain why France was so anxious to form and informants to infiltrate the same profile as Merah: at least 85 young French people have trained - or even lead - in the North Waziristan since last three years. These are mainly French of Arab origin who formed a group called Jihad-e-Islami. Their French commander called himself Abu Tarek and five of them returned to France in January 2011 to seek new recruits. "Not sure" Merah was among five terrorists apprentices in question, added the two leaders - a confirmation to hint of its presence in Pakistan. The killer went at least twice in Pakistan and Afghanistan twice.

Sources of Il Foglio warn that, again, there was a deal: he could move freely in exchange for valuable information. Bernard argues that Squarcini Mohamed Merah, when he was besieged in his apartment [Toulouse], allegedly confessed to have been caused "by one person" and not in a training center, in order "not to get noticed in the middle others by speaking French. "

Monday, March 26, his brother Abdelkader was indicted for complicity to murder and conspiracy. He is suspected of having supplied weapons to Mohamed and have financed his travels in Afghanistan. This procedure also allows judges more time to investigate. The French government had, at first, said the brother was not involved.

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