Mohammed Merah

March 21, 2012 by staff 

Mohammed Merah, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old man described by French authorities as a self-styled al Qaeda jihadist, has been named as the chief suspect in a series of shootings that have left seven people dead.

A picture is emerging of a man who was already known to the police and had apparently sought out Islamist jihadists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“He claims to be a jihadist and says he belongs to al Qaeda,” Interior Minister Claude Gueant told reporters in Toulouse. “He wanted to avenge the Palestinian children and take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions.”

A French national of Algerian origin, he had been under surveillance by French intelligence for a couple of years, having “already committed certain infractions, some with violence,” Gueant told CNN affiliate BFM-TV.

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