In the past hours some information that had emerged this morning has been corrected
- Mohamed Merah is a 23 year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, born in October 1988
- Earlier reports suggested Merah was arrested by Afghan police in December 2007 in Kandahar and sentenced to three years followed by a massive Taliban prison break in 2008. These reports are now DENIED by Kandahar news agencies. No French national named Mohamed Merah has been detained in Kandahar, Afghan news agencies are now reporting.
- Meanwhile it is confirmed by French authorities that Merah has in fact traveled to the Af-Pak region at least twice. In November 2010 Merah was allegedly checked by security forces in the South Afghan city of Kandahar but was not arrested.
- According to French security officials Mohamed Merah also traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 but had to return because of Hepatitis A infection. Prior to this trip Merah traveled to Pakistan on a tourist visa in August 2011 and made his way to the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan.
- Merah´s mother raised five children – three son and two daughters – as a single mother.
- Mohamed´s 29 year-old brother Abdelkader was under surveillance for days as French intelligence identified several Islamists in the Toulouse area as possible suspects in the case of the soldiers´killings in Montabaun.
- Abdelkader Merah according to French prosecution had fought in Iraq as a Jihadi militants and then returned to France. French intelligence monitored him as a potential terrorist. During today´s police operation explosives were found inside Abdelkader Merah´s car.
One year ago Mohamed Merah, a
24 23 year-old French citizen of Algerian origin locked up in an Afghan prison cell in the city of Kandahar. He had been arrested in November 2010 December 2007 as part of an Al-Qaida-Taliban cell which was planting bombs in the city. Merah among others was sentenced to three years in prison for his terrorist activities.
April 2011 June 2008 dozens of Taliban insurgents attacked Sarposa Prison, the main prison in Kandahar. They managed to free more than 1,200 inmates in this assault. Amongst those prisoners freed that night was Mohamed Merah.
Allegedly the 24 year-old from Toulouse re-joined Al-Qaida after he was freed from prison and received further terrorist training.
When Merah returned to France he was -according to French media reports – under the surveillance of French intelligence agency DCRI. Merah joined the Salafist group „Frosane Alizza“ operating in France and was known as a Jihadi sympathizer.
Meanwhile it is confirmed Mohamed Merah is the man who shot Jewish students and French soldiers in Toulouse and Montabaun. French police was able to track down the IP adress of the computer of Merah´s brother. The killer had used the computer to contact his first victim, a French soldier of North African descent, and pretended to be interested in buying a motorbike the soldier was selling.
Unconfirmed information is now spreading Merah tried to join the French Foreign League in 2010 but was not accepted. Allegedly he was a bodybuilder, too. Merah´s brother Abdelkader (26) is allegedly also part of the Salafist community in Toulouse.
Mohamed Merah has serve two prison terms in France in 2007 and 2009. About 18 acts of violence and crime have recorded in relation with Merah, the last one being „driving without license“ only a few weeks ago according to his lawyer.
French police has surrounded the house of the alleged Toulouse killer who shot dead three French soldiers, three Jewish students and a Jewish teacher in the Toulouse region over the past two weeks.
The suspect was identified as Franco-Algerian Mohamed Merah, a 24-year old French citizen. He allies himself with Al-Qaida and claims he was trained in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. According to media reports Merah said he acted because of recent violence in Gaza and the killing Palestinians.
French media is reporting Merah has been arrested previously in the Afghan city of Kandahar as he was fighting with Al-Qaida.
If confirmed that the shooter of Toulouse indeed has been an Al-Qaida-trained Jihadist who has not been ordered to carry out this attack by the Al-Qaida commanders then the strategy of the „Lone Wolf“ has in fact been taken to a new, disturbing level.