After 21-hour siege, French cops finally move in on jihadi suspected in Jewish school shooting; Update: Cops suspend siege

posted at 7:52 pm on March 21, 2012 by Allahpundit

British media has been covering the standoff all day, replete with live updates at the Telegraph and Guardian. Follow those links for developments tonight; the latest as I write this is that French police have blown open a door in his apartment building after negotiating with him since 3 a.m. local time this morning. For background on the whole story, though, read CBS’s account. The total death toll: Three Jewish children, a rabbi, and three French paratroopers, at least one of whom was Muslim. And he allegedly had plans to go out and kill another soldier before the cops surrounded him.

The suspect has told police he belonged to al Qaeda and wanted to take revenge for Palestinian children killed in the Middle East, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said, adding the man was also angry about French military intervention abroad…

An Interior Ministry official told The Associated Press that Merah has been under surveillance for years for having “fundamentalist” views. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Merah is a self-proclaimed member of the Forsan al-Izza or “Knights of Glory” group, which the French government banned in January following suspicion that it was recruiting Jihadists to Afghanistan…

Gueant told reporters Merah is “less explicit” about why he killed French paratroopers. The paratroopers were of Muslim and French Caribbean origin, but the interior minister said the suspect told them the ethnic origin has nothing to do with his actions.

He traveled to Afghanistan two years ago and, according to a French prosecutor, trained in Waziristan, but apparently earlier reports about him having been jailed there as a jihadi fighter and then escaped in a prison break are incorrect. He’s not the only local who’s trained for jihad abroad either, per French counterterror officials. They’ve had their eye on a number of men from Toulouse and estimate that there are 30 or more across Europe who went to Afghanistan or Iraq and then came home. In fact, French intelligence already knew who the suspect, Mohammed Merah, was. How he managed to kill seven people, including three soldiers, over several days without anyone moving in on him is the big question mark right now.

Two interesting wrinkles in this case. One: Some major newspapers, including the NYT and the Guardian, were quick to suggest that the shooter must be part of the European far right. That’s not implausible after the Anders Breivik massacre, and anti-semitic attitudes in France are on the rise, but to leap to that conclusion after fully 10 years of western counterterror officials warning of homegrown jihadists is simply insane. (Ace speculates that the media thought it unlikely that a jihadist would target Muslim members of the French army and notes, correctly, that that assumption is doubly insane.) Which brings us to the other wrinkle: Does Merah’s M.O. signal a deadly tactical shift by AQ and affiliated terrorists?

In the intelligence world, they are known as the Nike terrorists, whose motto when it comes to committing acts of terrorism is simply: “Just do it.”…

Rather than trying to carry out spectacular attacks on the scale of September 11, the Nike terrorists are encouraged to use any means at their disposal to cause the maximum number of casualties. The architect of this new way of killing was Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric who masterminded al-Qaeda’s operations from Yemen until killed by a US drone strike last September.

Awlaki, whose perfect command of English made him a highly effective al-Qaeda propagandist, regularly posted sermons on the internet urging his followers to carry out rudimentary attacks against Western “infidels” using any means at their disposal.

Read this analysis at the JPost making the same point and noting that Inspire, the Al Qaeda “magazine,” explicitly urged followers to attack locally and on their own. If the reports about him being trained in Waziristan are true, then he’s not a “lone wolf,” strictly speaking. But he was effective enough here (as was Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood) that more aspiring jihadis are bound to start eschewing high explosives for the low-tech yet highly effective machine-gun-in-the-mall approach. Bad days ahead.

Update: Just as I hit publish, the Telegraph updates to say that the earlier explosion was designed to intimidate Merah into surrendering. But he’s not intimidated and refuses to surrender. So … they’re going to start negotiating with him again. Ah, France.


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Comment pages: 1 2

You’ve made an a$$ out of yourself repeatedly all on you own. You’ve been extremely offensive and then you whine when you get it directed back to you. Go mourn somewhere else.

Blake on March 22, 2012 at 9:27 AM

No sir. I am not complaining because your were merely offensive. You equated someone saying he should be interrogated with the possibility of finding other potential attackers with a terrorist sympathizer. Shame on you! Intellectual fraud is only the beginning of what is wrong with that sad equation. Shame!

dieudonne on March 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

France is beginning to reap the “benefits” of playing pander bear to the Muslims. The West may play by PC rules but the Muslims play by NO rules at all. The end result is a sullen, recalcitrant, hostile and pathlogically dangerous minority.

MaiDee on March 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

No sir. I am not complaining because your were merely offensive.

You were the one who has been offensive and vulgar to a number of people on this thread.

You equated someone saying he should be interrogated with the possibility of finding other potential attackers with a terrorist sympathizer. Shame on you! Intellectual fraud is only the beginning of what is wrong with that sad equation. Shame!

dieudonne on March 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

I, and others, equate, and rightfully so, your phony demand that this creep be kept alive for some mythical intel you think he can provide and your attacks on those who disagree, as cover for your bleeding thug loving heart. So, shame on you!

Blake on March 22, 2012 at 10:21 AM

France is beginning to reap the “benefits” of playing pander bear to the Muslims. The West may play by PC rules but the Muslims play by NO rules at all. The end result is a sullen, recalcitrant, hostile and pathlogically dangerous minority.

MaiDee on March 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Oh, stop!! You’ll make dieudonne cry! lol!

Blake on March 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM

You were the one who has been offensive and vulgar to a number of people on this thread.

You were the one talking reading comprehension earlier. I amo NOT criticizing you for mere offensiveness.

I, and others,

So far it just you engaging in this shameful behavior bucko.

equate, and rightfully so, your phony

Your evidence that this is phony?

demand that this creep be kept alive for some mythical intel you think he can provide

How can you be certain that he had no useful intel? What is the basis for this claim?

and your attacks on those who disagree, as cover for your bleeding thug loving heart.

Again with the assumption of bad faith from a commenter of many years.

Shame on you! Shame!

dieudonne on March 22, 2012 at 10:32 AM

I, and others, equate, and rightfully so, your phony demand that this creep be kept alive for some mythical intel you think he can provide and your attacks on those who disagree, as cover for your bleeding thug loving heart. So, shame on you!

Blake on March 22, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I thought the union bullies were bad. Apparently now if you suggest a different course of action you are a terrorist sympathizer? I’d say that’s intellectually dishonest, but it’s probably more intellectually devoid than anything else.

sob0728 on March 22, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I thought the union bullies were bad. Apparently now if you suggest a different course of action you are a terrorist sympathizer? I’d say that’s intellectually dishonest, but it’s probably more intellectually devoid than anything else.

sob0728 on March 22, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Thought? You don’t think – period. He was the one who began shrieking and insulting those who disagreed with him. And yes, he took it to a degree where he does come across as a terrorist sympathizer. Don’t want to be perceived as one? Than don’t act like one. And because of this inane tactic of trying to take this nut alive, seven more people were shot. Both of you are intellectually dishonest and intellectually devoid. Now, piss off.

Blake on March 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I read on Fox News that French law enforcement killed the Islamic terrorist (I know, “Islamic Terrorist” is redundant).

Finally the French do something right. Now all they have to do to complete the job is bury Mohamed The Terrorist snuggled with a pig carcass like Douglas MacArthur’s dad used to do during the Moro Rebellion in the Phillipines in the early 1900′s.

CatchAll on March 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

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