The brother of Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah appeared before an anti-terrorist judge today and was formally charged with ‘complicity in murder.’ Meanwhile the fall-out from last week’s massascre has led to an escalation in religious tension, with Jewish graves being desecrated across France.
UK DAILY MAIL Riot police have also been called to housing estates on the outskirts of major cities like Paris because of anti-Semitic demonstrations being held in support of the 23-year-old killer.
Abdelkader Merah, the 29-year-old brother of Mohammed, appeared in court today after allegations that he was close to a Jewish school last Monday when his 23-year-old sibling gunned down a Rabbi, his two children, and a teenage pupil. He is also believed to have assisted his brother in an attack on French paratroopers, which saw three shot dead.
In a statement read out soon afterwards, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office said: ‘The investigations being handled by the police have established the existence of serious evidence against Abdelkader Merah corroborating, or making plausible, his participation as an accomplice in the commission of crimes in connection with a terrorist enterprise.’
Adbelkader has already told police interrogators that he was ‘very proud’ of what Merah did, and admitted to dining with him just before the attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. ‘Signals from Abdelkader’s mobile phone were emitted close to the school at the time of the murders,’ said an investigating source.
Among numerous questions Abedelkader is facing is how Merah got hold of an arsenal of weapons, including an Uzi sub-machine gun, and even the kind of Sten gun used by British soldiers during the Second World War. It is also believed that Abdekkader also helped his brother buy the Yamaha T-Max motorbike used in all the attacks, and to respray the vehicle and remove its tracking device.
Meanwhile, new video footage released by police shows the inside of the Toulouse apartment where Mohammed Merah had his last stand. The chaotic flat is cluttered with furniture strewn across each room blocking the way, and one wall is peppered in what looks like bullet holes.
Merah is being held up as an martyr in some quarters, with Jewish cemeteries targeted in attacks which police are linking to the Merah atrocities. On Thursday night Stars of David – a symbol of Judaism – were torn off some 30 graves in the eastern Jewish cemetery in the Mediterranean city of Nice.
Lanterns were also stolen from more than 20 sealed tombs in the same cemetery, with local police commissioner Hergot Nicolas saying all were targeted ‘because they are Jewish, while Christian graves nearby were ignored.’ David Shoushana, the chief rabbi in Nice, said there had been similar attacks on other cemeteries since Merah was shot dead on Thursday, adding that there was a ‘possible connection with the Toulouse killings.’
Also on Thursday, graffiti including ‘Long Live Merah’ and ‘Vengeance!’ appeared on a prominent wall in the Paris suburb of Sartrouville as youths gathered to ‘honour’ the killer.
‘Police have broken up similar gatherings on other estates around Paris, and other cities, where Merah is being portrayed by a tiny minority as martyr.’