Via The Times of Israel:

Mohammed Merah, the man suspected of the Toulouse Jewish school massacre, was still holed up in his house in northern Toulouse early Wednesday afternoon after a pre-dawn gun battle.

Merah had given up a pistol in exchange for a mobile phone, but still had powerful weapons, including an Uzi machine gun and a Kalashnikov assault rifle, Interior Minister Claude Gueant told French media….

During negotiations with police, Merah said he committed the attack out of a desire to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children by Israel….

The suspect is 24 years old and is of French nationality. He said “he belongs to al-Qaeda,” Gueant told reporters at the scene. He said the suspect “wants to take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

Merah was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gueant said, adding that had been followed for “several years” by domestic intelligence.

French media sources said the suspect spent time training on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where he adopted extremist ideology.

According to Reuters news agency, the head of Kandahar prison in Afghanistan, says Merah escaped from the prison in a mass Taliban jailbreak.

Merah also is suspected in other shootings, including targeting non-Jewish targets, as the NY Times made sure to point out, noting:

Before the authorities said on Wednesday that their prime suspect claimed ties to Al Qaeda, many analysts had speculated on whether he was motivated by extreme right-wing passions coinciding with the presidential elections.

Given how “anti-Muslim” speech by bloggers was blamed (unfairly) for the Norway shooting, I wonder if anti-Israel speech by the Boycott Divest Sanction movement,the groups behind the Gaza Flotillas, academic boycotters of Israeli universities, and others will be blamed for the killing of the Rabbi and his children in Toulouse.



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