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March 28, 2012 0

Jihadists Pay Tribute to French Shooter Mohammed Merah

Mem­bers of sev­eral online jihadist forums have praised Mohammed Merah for his attacks on French Jews and sol­diers. Com­ments on these forums include calls for sim­i­lar lone-wolf attacks and describe Merah’s shoot­ings as Allah’s revenge on France for its for­eign pol­icy and atti­tude toward Muslims.

Over the week­end, a video trib­ute to Merah enti­tled “The Lone Lion” also began cir­cu­lat­ing on the forums. The video begins with text com­mend­ing Merah for killing “three French sol­diers return­ing from Afghanistan” and “a Jew­ish rabbi and his chil­dren.” It also applauds him for fight­ing “the French spe­cial forces with courage until he was killed as a martyr.”

Funeral footage of Merah’s vic­tims in France and Israel is jux­ta­posed with images of bleed­ing Pales­tini­ans and videos of Israeli airstrikes car­ried out by “the ene­mies of Allah, the Jews.” This sec­tion sug­gests the type of moral equiv­a­lence that Merah claimed prompted him to under­take his attacks. 

The video also includes record­ings of Osama bin Laden speak­ing about a promised war “between us and the Jews” and of cur­rent Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, describ­ing Eng­land and the U.S. as legit­i­mate tar­gets because of the civil­ian casu­al­ties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. 

The video con­cludes with a warn­ing, appar­ently directed at French Pres­i­dent Nico­las Sarkozy, that Merah’s wave of ter­ror “is the beginning.”

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March 21, 2012 1

Toulouse Jewish Day School Shooter Linked to Banned Forsane Alizza

Update: French author­i­ties have con­firmed the death of Mohammed Merah after a 30-hour stand­off at his home. A for­mer spokesman for For­sane Alizza denied that Merah was ever a mem­ber.
 
French media is report­ing that Mohammed Merah, the sus­pect behind Monday’s deadly shoot­ing at a Jew­ish day school in Toulouse, France, has links to For­sane Alizza, a rad­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion that was banned by the French gov­ern­ment in Jan­u­ary 2012 for sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism and prepar­ing its mem­bers for “armed struggle.” 
 
Dur­ing a stand­off today between Merah and French author­i­ties, Merah report­edly said he is a mem­ber of Al Qaeda and that he car­ried out the attacks as revenge for Pales­tin­ian chil­dren and as a reac­tion to French mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion over­seas. Merah, a French cit­i­zen of Alger­ian decent, has also been linked to two ear­lier attacks on French military.
 
For­sane Alizza (Ara­bic for “Knights of Honor”), which advo­cates a Salafist ide­ol­ogy that rejects democ­racy, sought to recruit mem­bers with mar­tial arts train­ing. “We are look­ing for all kinds of skills but sol­diers above all,” read a state­ment on the group’s web­site. “So if you enjoy mar­tial arts and are quick to respond when we call on you, then you are a good fit, inshal­lah [God will­ing].” The web­site, which fea­tured videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, also expressed the group’s sup­port for “mujhaideen wher­ever they are in the world.”
 
The group, which advo­cates for BDS on its web­site, orga­nized sev­eral protests against Israel in France. In Sep­tem­ber 2011, its mem­bers dis­rupted the El Al counter at Roissy air­port in Paris, shout­ing “Death to Israel!” and “Death to Jews!” In June 2010, they protested at a McDonald’s, telling cus­tomers that McDonald’s sup­ports Israel. Two mem­bers of the group were con­victed by a French court on charges of “incit­ing racial hatred” and shout­ing anti-Semitic remarks at the restau­rant. That same month, the group par­tic­i­pated in a pro-flotilla rally in Paris.
 
For­sane Alizza seems to be cur­rently oper­at­ing with “Force de Défense Musul­mane sur Inter­net.” Its stated goal is to remove online mate­ri­als that they con­sider to be offen­sive to Mus­lims and Islam and to pro­vide resources to those who are engaged in the same activ­ity. Its activ­ity is sim­i­lar to that of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that was based in New York and that attracted a rad­i­cal fol­low­ing online.
 
French author­i­ties indi­cated that Merah has been under sur­veil­lance for at least sev­eral years due to his rad­i­cal beliefs. There have also been reports that he trav­eled to Afghanistan and Pak­istan for mil­i­tant train­ing, but French author­i­ties say that they have no evi­dence that he had been in con­tact with ter­ror­ist groups.

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