Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Algerian Mohammed Mera of Al-Qaeda Holed Up in Toulouse, Refusing to Negotiate with Police

Al Qaeda man cornered for Toulouse school murders. Police prepare to storm building 
DEBKAfile Special Report March 21, 2012, 10:53 AM (GMT+02:00)
School killer in house surrounded by Toulouse police
Toulouse police are preparing to storm the house in which an al Qaeda gunman hunted as the motorcyclist in black for the Jewish school murders is still barricaded.  A 24-year old of Algerian descent, Mohammed Merah stated after shooting at police who surrounded the house that he belonged to al Qaeda and trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His brother and his brother's girlfriend were arrested as his suspected accomplice. Three police were injured in the initial round of fire from the building after the police raid began at dawn Wednesday, March 21, Negotiations for the surrender of the hunted man failed. Neighboring buildings have been evacuated for the police assault on the building.
The man holding out was hunted for the murders of the teacher and three children at the Toulouse Jewish school Ozar Hatorah and also two French paratroopers in nearby Montauban last Thursday. He was under police suspicion after that attack but not arrested. He was active in the extremist Islamic organization called Forsane Alizz which was only recently outlawed..
The Jewish teacher, Yonathan Sandler, 30, his sons Arieh, 3 and Gavriel, 6 and the Ozar Hatorah principal’s daughter, Miriam Monstango, aged 8, whom he shot dead Monday at the Jewish school, were laid to rest at the Har Menuhot cemetery in Jerusalem Wednesday. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe flew to Israel with the victims and attended the funerals as a mark of French-Israeli solidarity in the face of he terrible murders.
The dawn raid in Toulouse was accompanied by security police swoops on extremist Muslim hideouts across France.
« Breaking News »

Buses at site of Toulouse standoff to evacuate residents 
DEBKAfile March 21, 2012, 11:02 AM (GMT+02:00)
The Al Qaeda gunman Mohammed Merah under siege in a Toulouse house said he would give himself up this afternoon. However, police have moved into top floors of the house and buses have arrived to evacuate residents.

By: Jewish Press Staff Reporter
Published: March 21st, 2012

French police early morning raid yielded the gunman's brother. 
French police early morning raid yielded the gunman's brother.
Photo Credit: Screenshot 

According to French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, the 24-year-old Frenchman from Toulouse suspected of killing seven victims – three Arabs and four Jews – is saying he belongs to al-Qaeda. Gueant said the suspect had made several visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The house in Toulouse is a five-story block of flats and the man is on the ground or first floor.
Investigators told the BBC that the suspect was identified through an email message he sent to his first victim. He had also been looking for a garage in Toulouse to remove a GPS tracking device from his Yamaha scooter after the first two attacks. Police knew a scooter was used in all the attacks.
Police are negotiating with the man, who said he acted in “revenge for Palestinian children” and for French military operations oversea. The man has thrown out one of his guns in exchange for a “communications device”.
Three French police were injured in the firefight during the early morning raid, in which the suspect’s brother was captured. Gueant said the man shot at the door after police arrived, injuring one officer in the knee and “lightly injuring” another.
Mera”s mother, an Algerian, was brought to the scene to persuade her son to surrender, according to Gueant, but she is refusing to get involved, claiming she “had little influence on him.”
The man now said he plans to give himself up in the afternoon. His brother is still at large.
“He claims to be a Mujahideen and to belong to al-Qaeda,” Gueant said. “He wanted revenge for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions.”
According to Agence France-Presse, a French secret service source said the suspect had been “in the sights” of France’s intelligence agency after the first two attacks, when police were able to provide “crucial evidence”.
Police wearing helmets and flak jackets have cordoned off the area and other operations are under way to track down possible accomplices. Other emergency services are also in attendance.
A huge manhunt had been launched after Monday’s shooting at the Ozar HaTorah Jewish school that left four people dead, and the killing of three soldiers in two incidents last week.