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France marks first anniversary of Merah killings

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France marks first anniversary of Merah killings


Sunday was a day of mourning in the southern French city of Toulouse.

One year after self-declared jihadist Mohamed Merah shot dead three members of the French military, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi, 1,500 people – from different religious communities – paid homage to the victims.

They were joined by President Francois Hollande, who said there are still many unanswered questions: “Did Merah act alone? Or was he a member of a larger network? Questions continue to be asked and we owe answers to the [victims’] families and to the whole of France. I guarantee they will get those answers.”

Hollande promised no let up in the fight against terrorism and said France is tightening its intelligence gathering to prevent future such attacks.

Victims’ families have accused the French central intelligence service of failing to prevent the killings, even though they had earlier been tracking and listening to the phone calls of Merah, a French-Algerian who had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He died in a shootout during a police siege soon after the Jewish school killings.

His brother, Abdelkader – who denies any involvement – was arrested after the attacks and is the only person still in custody. Several others have been questioned but released.

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