Analysis

Toulouse Shootings Show France Mishandling Radical Islamists
Gilles Bernheim, second from right, the Great Rabbi of France and France's Jewish central Consistory Joel Mergui, right, stand in front of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school at the end of a march of people of all faiths on March 25 in Toulouse to mourn the murder of three children and one teacher by self-proclaimed radical Islamist Mohamed Merah. On the fence are pictures of the four victims of the shooting. (ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images)
March 27, 2012
| Security
| Europe
Summary
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France appears to have badly mishandled the case of Mohamed Merah, the gunman responsible for the school killings in Toulouse last week. Despite numerous signs of radical Islamist leanings — including being placed on the U.S. no-fly list, claiming he had been trained by radical Jihadists, and threatening to kill a French family in 2010 after it objected to his attempt to force their son to watch videos of beheadings — he was not detained by French authorities. Measures being contemplated by French authorities to combat radical Islam in France do not address the underlying societal causes of this threat, as LIGNET explains.

U.S. officials told Reuters that Mohamed Merah was on a U.S. no-fly list because he traveled to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and claimed to have attended an al-Qaeda training camp. Although French authorities claim to have put Merah under surveillance, he was able to acquire a large collection of firearms, including automatic weapons.

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