Window of Merah's apartment
Photo: MCT

Watch video from Toulouse killer's home

French TV publishes first images from home where Mohammed Merah was killed by SWAT team; meanwhile, gun experts say arms stockpiled by terrorist worth at least 10,000 euros

French television published Friday evening the first images from the home of Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse terrorist killed in a police raid Thursday.


The video images clearly show the extensive damage caused to Merah's apartment in the course of the raid, including numerous bullet holes and broken walls. 


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Meanwhile, as France asks itself whether it could have done more to prevent Merah from shooting dead seven people in a killing spree that shook the nation, there is one question that refuses to go away: how did he obtain so many guns.


The size and nature of the arsenal amassed by Merah - who stockpiled at least eight guns including a Kalashnikov assault rifle and an Uzi machine pistol - has focused attention on the easy availability of illegal weapons in France and their growing use in ultra-violent crimes.

Video of Merah home


Just weeks after France tightened gun laws which were already among the strictest in the world, the issue has blown into the political debate ahead of an April-May presidential election.


Burglaries financed arms?

Some of the weapons Merah obtained are more typically found on a battlefield.


His arsenal reportedly included at least three Colt .45 pistols, the US army's sidearm of choice during the Second World War, a 9mm Sten submachine gun, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a pump-action shotgun, an Uzi machine pistol, as well as a Colt .357 Python revolver.


Merah's profile did not, at first glance, suggest someone capable of amassing an illegal arsenal that would have cost at least 10,000 euros ($13,000) to purchase, according to gun experts.


Just 23 years old, he was an unemployed panel beater and was claiming state benefits worth only 475 euros ($625) a month. He had, however, been involved in petty crime and appears to have used the proceeds to quietly build up his arsenal.


Francois Molins, a Paris-based prosecutor, said that Merah had told how he had funded his collection before he was killed by a police sniper on Thursday.


"He explained that he got his hands on all these weapons because he had pulled off break-ins and burglaries that provided him with money to buy guns and ammunition," Molins said.




פרסום ראשון: 03.23.12, 22:35
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