This development barely begins to unravel the trail of money and contacts that made it possible for Mohamed, who was on welfare, to travel extensively and amass weapons, but it is a start. “French gunman’s brother suspected of complicity,” from Reuters, March 25:
PARIS (Reuters) – French authorities have ordered the brother of an al Qaeda-inspired killer to be detained on suspicion of complicity in his sibling’s assassination of three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers.
The Paris public prosecutor’s office said preliminary inquiries had produced enough material to justify detaining Abdelkader Merah while he was investigated on multiple counts.
Abdelkader, 29, was arrested at dawn on Wednesday as elite police laid siege to the Toulouse apartment of his brother Mohamed, a French citizen of Algerian extraction.
Mohamed Merah was killed in a shootout after confessing to shooting four soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi in three separate incidents in and around the southwestern city this month.
Three of the soldiers are dead and the fourth is alive but in a critical condition.
The killings shocked France and the world a month from a presidential election where conservative Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting an uphill battle for re-election.
Merah does not appear to have acted as part of a fundamentalist network [really? – ed], but police are trying to establish whether he was swayed or given practical help by his brother, who was known to security services for helping smuggle Jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.
“Police inquiries have produced serious and matching pointers that suggest his (Abdelkader’s) participation as accomplice in crimes relating to a terrorist enterprise is plausible,” the Paris public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
It listed the suspected offences as complicity in assassination and in robbery, and colluding with criminals planning terrorist enterprises. In France it may take months or years before a trial is ordered or the case dropped.