French police arrest two in connection with Toulouse killings

Authorities believe suspects acted as accomplices to Mohammad Merah’s March shooting spree

French police on Tuesday announced that they had arrested a man and a woman in connection with the Toulouse shootings in March, in which Mohammed Merah, a French-Algerian Islamist, killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school, several days after gunning down four French paratroopers in two separate attacks.

The man arrested Tuesday was picked up in the city of Albi in southern France, and the woman — his ex-girlfriend — was arrested in Toulouse, the prosecutor’s office said. It released no other details. The two are suspected of providing Merah with logistical support and assistance in carrying out the attacks.

The Sipa news agency said the man is suspected of helping Merah obtain the scooter used in the attacks.

Merah was killed following a dramatic manhunt and a 30-hour standoff with police three days after the attack on the Jewish school.

French intelligence was heavily criticized in the wake of the shootings, after it was revealed that it had been keeping tabs on Merah — who had visited Pakistan, Afghanistan and even, briefly, Israel — but had underestimated his potential as a terrorist threat.

While authorities initially described him as a “lone wolf” terrorist, lawyers for victims’ families were skeptical.

“We know that he didn’t kill alone,” lawyer Patrick Klugman, who represents some victims’ families, said on LCI television. “We want everyone who helped him, who hid him . . . brought before justice.”

Samia Maktouf, the lawyer for the father of one of the paratroopers, told Sipa that she is expecting more arrests of suspected accomplices “in France and abroad.”

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