Today, Mohammed Merah, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist who shot to death a rabbi, his two small children and the eight-year old daughter of a Jewish school’s head teacher, was shot to death by police in an apartment siege. He had already killed another three people in separate attacks, so why hadn’t the French already found him?
There was plenty of evidence to indicate he intended murderous assault. Merah was already listed with the DCRI, France's domestic intelligence agency, as one of a tiny group of Islamist individuals who associated with jihadist organizations. He had already been convicted of acts of violence, theft and attempted robbery, been rejected by the French Army and Foreign Legion, and joined the Taliban guerillas in Afghanistan. Le Monde reported that by 2008, Merah and his brother were linked to jihadists in their hometown. Spanish intelligence reported that Merah attended a meeting of the violent Islamic Salafists in 2011 in Catalonia.
Most importantly, the French ignored a mother’s official complaint that he had locked her son into his apartment and forced him to watch violent videos showing the bloody decapitation scenes of apparent "infidels." After Merah’s first murder, of a soldier in Montauban, the police secured the mobile phone of the victim, which showed conversations between the victim and Merah. After he killed two more soldiers, the domestic intelligence agency DCRI created a list of possible suspects, and Merah was among them. Interior Minister Guéant confirmed, “He had been monitored by the DCRI and its agents in Toulouse for several years."
Only after this third attack on four Jews did police finally track him down.
How did Merah obtain his firearms, especially in gun-controlled France? How could he fly under the radar while planning his horrific assault? When asked if the French could have acted faster, French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet told the radio station RTL,"I don't think so, unless we want to turn France into a police state."
This is nonsense. The opposition leaders in France have asserted their own anger at the lack of action by the French intelligence services. Francois Bayrou, from the Democratic Movement party, said he was shocked by that Merah obtained numerous firearms without being put under surveillance. Marine Le Pen, the hard-right leader of the Front National party, lambasted the government for its lassitude, its “green fascism,” in failing to fight Islamic fundamentalists more vigorously.
Protesting that France would be a police state if it took Islamic terrorism seriously? Tell that to the victims’ families.