French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has acknowledged the failures and mistakes by the country’s intelligence apparatus with regard to the case of the suspected killer Mohammed Merah.
In a Saturday TV interview, Valls stated that France’s Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence (DCRI) has been directly responsible for failing to prevent the three terrorist attacks in the French cities of Toulouse and Montauban in March 2012.
French authorities claim that 23-year-old Merah perpetrated the three terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of seven people.
Valls pointed to the mistakes and errors by the DCRI and noted that the lack of coordination between the DCRI’s office in Toulouse, where Merah lived, and its headquarters in Paris has been blatantly obvious.
The French interior minister pointed out that while the Toulouse-based officers considered Merah as a “very dangerous individual,” the intelligence officers in Paris did not confirm that view.
Former Interior Minister Claude Gueant has refused to comment on his successor’s remarks.
Merah was suspected of killing a French trooper in Toulouse on March 11, 2012, and killing two French soldiers in Montauban on March 19 and injuring another.
The 23-year-old was also suspected of killing a rabbi and his three and six-year-old sons in a shooting spree at a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19. The school principal’s 10-year-old daughter was also killed in the incident that left a fifth person injured.
On March 22, 2012, Merah was killed after the French security forces laid a 30-hour-plus-long siege on the place where he had been holed up.
French officials claim he had admitted to having links to al-Qaeda before his death, about which there are conflicting reports.
In June 2012, Merah’s father launched a law suit against French police who shot his son dead, saying that they had killed the 23-year-old on purpose, instead of arresting him alive.