March 22, 2012
Toulouse killer visited Israel, other countries in the region
The passport of Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah showed that he visited Israel, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, a French newspaper reported.
Police found Merah’s passport in his apartment following the raid Thursday that led to his death, LeMonde reported. It is believed that he tried to visit the West Bank.
Merah jumped to his death from his apartment window during a police raid on his Toulouse home. He was also shot in his head by police as he jumped firing at the officers.
A man riding a motorbike opened fire Monday outside the Ozar Hatorah school where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day. During the more than 30-hour standoff in his apartment with police, Merah said he was the attacker, according to French officials.
Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, were killed in the attack. They were buried Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Merah told French police he killed the Jewish students at the Ozar Hatorah school Monday in revenge for Palestinian children killed in Gaza, and had killed three French soldiers for serving in Afghanistan. Police found videos he took of the killings with a camera hung around his neck, according to reports.
Merah, a French national of Algerian origin, had claimed ties to al-Qaida in France and reportedly had been known to French intelligence for many years.
Also Thursday, an extremist group known as the Soldiers of Caliphate claimed responsibility for the shootings in France, calling it a response to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, according to Haaretz.
“The jihadists everywhere are keen to avenge every drop of blood unfairly shed in Palestine, Afghanistan and elsewhere in Muslim countries,” said the group in a statement posted on an extremist website, according to the newspaper.