Mohamed Merah
Photo: AFP
Merah's home after raid

Toulouse terrorist's brother: I'm proud of him

French police source says older brother of Muhammad Merah admitted helping him steal scooter used in seven murders; denied involvement

The brother of Muhammad Merah, the Toulouse terrorist killed in a police raid Thursday, was whisked to Paris on Saturday for further questioning and a police source disclosed he had said he was "proud" of his late sibling's killing spree.


Abdelkader Merah was taken by car from police barracks in Toulouse for transfer to the capital, along with his wife, a judicial source said.


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Both were arrested in the early hours of last Wednesday as negotiators sought their help in trying to persuade Merah to turn himself in.


Abdelkader Merah and his wife, whose name was not given, were transferred to a detention center at the headquarters of the DCRI domestic intelligence agency in Paris, where a judge was likely to decide in a matter of hours whether there were grounds for opening legal proceedings over possible links with Mohamed Merah's attacks.


Watch video from inside Merah's apartment


Police have found explosives in a car Abdelkader owned, according to the public prosecutor leading the case. He was already known to security services for having helped smuggle jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.


A police source said on Saturday that at a closed hearing in Toulouse he had declared himself "proud" of his brother's killings and had admitted helping Mohamed steal the scooter used in all seven murders. He had denied any knowledge of his brother's murderous plans, however, the source added.


'Terrorist had death wish'

Also on Saturday, French Police Chief Amaury de Hauteclocque, who was in charge of the raid on Mohamed Merah's Toulouse home Thursday, told French newspaper "Le Figaro" about the shooting killer's last moments before being shot in the head by police.


According to the police chief, Merah told officials he wanted to die and fired at them as they attempted to disperse tear gas in the terrorist's Toulouse home where he fortified himself.


ביתו של המחבל אחרי הפשיטה

Terrorist's home afer police raid


Hauteclocque explained the police tried to get Merah to flee the house by using tear gas, but claimed the killer had other plans. "He was waiting for us. The minute we began to make a hole in the wall to disperse the gas through, he opened fire. I ordered my people not to shot. We hurled hand grenades through the windows to shock him. He suddenly came out and opened fire," the police chief explained.


He went on to say that once Merah decided to cut off all contact with police officials, it was clear that the intend of the negotiations was to allow him to rest and prepare for a clash. "Up until the last moment, shortly before his outburst, I had a mediator standing behind the door proposing he put down his weapon," said Hauteclocque.


However the terrorist apparently had a death wish. "He told us he was a Jihad warrior in war with France since March 11. He said he wanted to die holding a sword and join Allah and the 72 virgins," the police chief continued.


"I could have waited for hours and days to catch him alive, but he chose his faith. He clearly told us: 'I'm waiting for you.' He wanted to confront us on his own territory… He turned his home into a battlefield."


Filmed Killings

Merah had filmed himself carrying out attacks in southern France that began March 11 and killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head, prosecutors say. Another Jewish student and a paratrooper were wounded.


Key questions include how Mohamed Merah, described by French intelligence boss Ange Mancini as "a little failure from the suburbs," was able to amass an arsenal of weapons - including an Uzi sub-machinegun - and rent a car, despite having no clear source of income.


שוטר ליד השיירה בפריז בה נסע אחיו של המחבל (צילום: AFP)

French policeman (Photo: AFP)


Mancini told French broadcaster BFMTV that Merah told police during the siege that he bought the weapons for €20,000 ($26,476), using money he acquired through break-ins and holdups.


Mancini said he believed that Merah was telling the truth about that, but suggested that forensic police would be examining the guns for clues as to where Merah got them.


"The weapons, too, will talk," Mancini said.


Merah had claimed that neither his mother nor his brother knew of his plans, but police union spokesman Michel Crepin told reporters that detectives have already gathered evidence to suggest that Abdelkader may have helped his brother carry out the shootings.


Asked what police had on the brother, Crepin said there was evidence to suggest that Abdelkader Merah had "furnished means (and) worked as an accomplice."


Merah's home

French television published Friday evening the first images from the home of Merah. 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.


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.


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.


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.


"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," Francois Molins, a Paris-based prosecutor, said on Friday.


AP contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 03.24.12, 11:26
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