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September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Toulouse’

French Police Search for Merah Fan over Quenelle Photos

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

French police are searching for an unidentified man who performed an anti-Semitic gesture at three locales connected to the murder of Jews.

A photo of the suspect surfaced last week online in which he performed the quenelle, a quasi-Nazi salute, in front of the Toulouse school where the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah murdered four Jews in 2012.

The same man was seen performing the quenelle outside the former residence of Merah, who was killed during a shootout with French police, according to research done by the French Jewish news site JSSnews.com. He also posed while performing the quenelle near a monument commemorating the Holocaust in Paris.

The quenelle is the name given to the gesture of placing one’s left palm on one’s right shoulder by its inventor, comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has been convicted several times for inciting hatred against Jews and who is facing an eighth trial for suggesting a French Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber.

It is widely seen as echoing the Nazi salute but is too vague to violate France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols. In recent months, the quenelle’s popularity has soared in France, with several celebrities performing it on national media.

On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls – who last week said he would seek a ban on public performances by Dieudonne — indicated for the first time he may also seek a ban on the gesture, which he said is a form of incitement to hatred despite claims that it is merely anti-establishment rather than anti-Semitic.

Hollande Visits Graves of Victims of Toulouse Jewish School Attack

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

French President Francois Hollande visited the Jerusalem graves of the victims of the attack on a Toulouse Jewish school on Tuesday, accompanied by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and members of the Sandler and Monsonego families.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30; his children Gabriel, 6, and Aryeh,3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, were killed in March 2012 when radical Islamist Mohammed Merah entered the Ozar HaTorah school in the city in southwest France and shot at students and teachers.

The school slayings came a few days after Merah gunned down three French soldiers in two drive-by shootings from a scooter near Toulouse.

Merah was shot dead three days after the school shooting during a standoff with police. He had admitted to the shootings, saying they were in retaliation for Israel’s alleged treatment of Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Threatening Caller to Toulouse Jewish School Gets Jail

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

A man who made death threats against the Jewish school in Toulouse where Mohammed Merah killed four people last year was ordered jailed for a year.

Lucien Abdelrhafor, 20, in an expedited court procedure Monday also received an additional year’s suspended jail term for phoning in the threats to the Ohr Hatorah school, the French daily L’Express reported.

According to SPCJ, the French Jewish community’s security service, the man called the school on Sept. 16 and told a secretary, “I am Mohammed Merah’s cousin and I’m coming over tonight to kill you.”

Merah in March 2012 gunned down a rabbi and three children at the school, which changed its name from Ozar Hatorah after the attack.

Abdelrhafor in the call claimed to be a “cousin” of Merah — a false claim, according to SPCJ.

SPCJ said police have arrested several callers who threatened violence against the school following the shooting.

French police believe Merah planned the shooting with his older brother, Abelkader, who is in prison awaiting trial.

Add Brussels to the List of Where Jews Need to Hide. Again.

Friday, August 16th, 2013

For years there have been reports of Jews being warned not to wear items that identify them as Jewish in places where there are large or numbers are particularly aggressive anti-Semites.

People are told it is best not to wear Magen David necklaces outside their clothing, or kippot on their heads when visiting certain neighborhoods in France, in England, certainly throughout much of the Arab Middle East or in parts of North Africa.

But now a Jewish school in Belgium has issued an edict to its schoolchildren: do not wear kippot near the school until you are safely inside the steel-paneled fortified building.

The Maimonides School in the Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels was started shortly after World War II, at the initiative of the director of the Jewish orphanage, Holocaust survivor S.B. Bamberger, with assistance from Brussels’ rabbi.  It was an attempt to reclaim Jewish life in Brussels after the German occupation. The school opened its doors on September 1, 1947 on the Boulevard Poincaré.

Although it is a pluralistic Jewish school, it follows kashrut and boys are required to wear kippot, and all students are expected to dress “decently,” according to the school’s website.

Over the years the neighborhood in which the school is located has deteriorated.  Anderlecht used to be called “little Jerusalem” because there were so many Jews.  The neighborhood is now increasingly populated by Muslim immigrants from Morocco and Turkey, and right near the school building is a subway station where many Muslim immigrants gather.  Attendance at the school has been dwindling.

Last year the Maimonides board of directors concluded that they will soon have to move, because parents have become too frightened to send their children to the school in its current location. The dramatic drop in attendance – the pre-k through senior high school once had 600 students, but it is now down to less than 150 – has created enormous financial difficulties for Maimo, as it is called.

“In recent years, the district suffered a sharp deterioration. The establishment struggled to deal with the problems of insecurity, of cleanliness. Many parents no longer wish to enroll their children in Maimonides because they fear for their safety,” explained Jacques Wajc, chairman of the school’s board of directors, to the Belgian news source 7 Sur 7.

An incident unnerved the school community in March of 2012.  According to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,

“Four individuals of Arab-Muslim origin arrived at the door of the Athenaeum Maimonides in Anderlecht and tried to pull the door to enter multiple times. The security services of the school intervened and were joined by police officers on site.  When checking on the individuals, one of them said, ‘I do not care to touch the door of s[**]t dirty Jew,’” according to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,  The four who attempted to gain entrance to the school were illegal immigrants.

Until the school can raise the money to move, it has had to issue a new directive to its students, as reported by Gates of Vienna:

Especially since the attack by Mohamed Merah at the Jewish school in Toulouse last year, which resulted in four deaths, the fear of radical Islam with a North African flavor has increased a lot in Brussels.The director of the school has banned the wearing of kippahs by students outside the school in an attempt to protect them. The kippah is a sign of respect towards God. So a fundamental aspect of the Jewish belief system had to go.

There are two Jewish schools in suburban Brussels.

Approximately 25,000 Belgian Jews were deported to the death camps from Brussels during World War II.  Of those, only 1,207 survived the war.

Toulouse Terrorist was no ‘Lone Wolf’

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Keep in mind the murder spree carried out in Toulouse, France, during March 2012 by Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old French-Algerian Islamist terrorist and (until his brief and bloody moment of infamy) a petty criminal.

He attacked and killed several French Army personnel, blaming it on the war in Afghanistan. Then at 8 in the morning on March 19, 2012, he rode up to the gates of the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, part of a national chain of about 20 French Jewish schools:

He dismounted, and immediately opened fire toward the schoolyard. The first victim was a rabbi and teacher at the school who was shot outside the school gates as he tried to shield his two young sons from the gunman. The gunman shot one of the boys as he crawled away, as his father and brother lay dying on the pavement. He then walked into the schoolyard, chasing people into the building. Inside, he shot at staff, parents, and students. He chased an 8-year-old girl into the courtyard, caught her by her hair and raised a gun to shoot her. The gun jammed at this point and he changed weapons from what the police identified as a 9mm pistol to a .45 calibre gun, and shot the girl in her temple at point-blank range. [Source: Wikipedia]

He subsequently explained, before being shot to death in a face-off with French police, that the Jewish children needed to die because “The Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”
Did he operate alone? For most parts of the mainstream news reporting industry, the answer was yes. In a blog post ["10-Feb-13: Suicides, haters and lone wolves"], we wrote:

Most media channels, up to and including those reporting on this week’s Spanish/Moroccan jihadist, persist in referring to the lone-wolf profile of Mohamed Merah for purposes of comparison. But Merah made 1,800 phone calls to his 180 contacts. And his brother was arrested almost immediately. And now two additional men. So in what way was he a lone wolf? Could it be that it’s less threatening, less discomforting, to their audiences if they are left to believe the man planned to do the killings on his own, devoid of an ideological/religious background? How unsettling is it for alert news consumers to try to make sense of the seemingly-endless ranks of young European men professing various expressions of the one religion as the justification for their acts of extreme prejudice, hateful murder and self-destruction?

Now here’s a brief update via a Reuters bulletin from yesterday.

France detains suspect in Toulouse killings investigation | Reuters News | May 18, 2013 | PARIS - French anti-terror judges ordered the detention on Saturday of a man on suspicions he aided an al Qaeda-inspired gunman prepare for a shooting spree last year, a judicial source said. Mohamed Merah killed four Jews and three soldiers in and around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012 before he was shot dead by police. Anti-terror judges have put the unnamed 25-year-old detained man under formal investigation to determine whether he helped Merah steal a scooter that was used in the shootings. Merah’s brother Abdelkader has also been in detention since March last year on suspicion of complicity in terrorism, murder and theft. He denies being an accomplice in the killings… [Reuters]

Another Merah-related terror plot emerged in March. We reported it in “12-Mar-13: French Islamists mark anniversary of the death of Merah, the ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist, via fresh plot to kill innocents

From Reuters today: Three suspected Islamist militants arrested in southern France appeared to be planning an attack in the days ahead, the Paris prosecutor said on Monday, the anniversary of an al Qaeda-inspired shooting that rocked France. Police found weapons and explosives at the home of one of the suspects in the town of Marignane, near Marseille, and intercepted communications between the men suggested they were close to going into action, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The three men, who were taken in for questioning last week with a fourth man who was later released, were to be placed under formal investigation later on Monday… The timing of the arrests was poignant, coming exactly a year after 23-year-old gunman Mohamed Merah began a rampage that killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in the southern city of Toulouse. He was subsequently tracked down and killed in a shootout with police… Molins said the arrested men, in their 20s, wanted to emulate Merah. “It was clear they were training themselves in making explosives based on a jihadist radicalisation, a glorification of Mohamed Merah, and an affirmed desire to go into action.”

There’s little doubt that thinking about home-grown made-in-Europe Islamist terrorists is easier to do when you categorize them as one-man bands. You can’t blame the French for wanting this to be true. The problem is with how reality keeps messing with comfortable theories.
Visit This Ongoing War.

Islamists Planned to Honor Toulouse Terrorist Via Fresh Plot

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

From Reuters yesterday:

Three suspected Islamist militants arrested in southern France appeared to be planning an attack in the days ahead, the Paris prosecutor said on Monday, the anniversary of an al Qaeda-inspired shooting that rocked France. Police found weapons and explosives at the home of one of the suspects in the town of Marignane, near Marseille, and intercepted communications between the men suggested they were close to going into action, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The three men, who were taken in for questioning last week with a fourth man who was later released, were to be placed under formal investigation later on Monday… The timing of the arrests was poignant, coming exactly a year after 23-year-old gunman Mohamed Merah began a rampage that killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in the southern city of Toulouse. He was subsequently tracked down and killed in a shootout with police… Molins said the arrested men, in their 20s, wanted to emulate Merah. “It was clear they were training themselves in making explosives based on a jihadist radicalisation, a glorification of Mohamed Merah, and an affirmed desire to go into action.”

A year after the murderous Merah rampage, TIME Magazine reviewed what we more-or-less know now:

Twelve months after the series of attacks — which concluded with Merah’s own death after a 32-hour siege — the country is still learning details about the self-proclaimed al-Qaeda member’s transformation from petty hood to violent jihadist. Perhaps most disturbing among those revelations are indications that the nation’s domestic intelligence agency identified Merah as a potential security risk as early as 2007, yet failed to prevent the mass killings of March 2012.

According to the Time article,

In comments earlier this month, France’s Socialist Interior Minister Manuel Valls acknowledged that his predecessors had made “errors, failings, and faults” in handling Merah…

There’s something sadly familiar about political figures looking back at terror attacks that occurred when their rivals were in charge and declaring that it was all handled badly. Has France learned something from the Merah terror rampage? The terrorists of Hezbollah and their civilian auxiliaries are operating right under the noses of the French today. Are the ministers of the Hollande government doing something about it? If yes, what?

Visit This Ongoing War.

French Police Summon Toulouse Killer’s Sister

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Mohammed Merah’s sister was summoned to a French police station for questioning regarding her praise for her late brother’s murder of four Jews.

Souad Merah entered the main police station of Toulouse on Wednesday morning, AFP, the French news agency, reported.

Last month, prosecutors in Paris said she might be indicted for incitement after she was filmed saying she was “proud” of her brother for killing three Jewish children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19.

Souad Merah, 34, was filmed without her knowledge by M6, a French television station, saying she was “proud” of her brother “for how he fought till the end,” adding: “The Jews are all about massacring the Muslims. I detest them. I think well of bin Laden. I told that to the cops. I am proud of my brother, proud, proud, proud.” The footage was aired on Nov. 11.

She later issued a statement saying she condemned his actions.

Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old radical Muslim, killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19. He was killed three days later in a police raid on his home as he tried to jump out the bathroom window. Before attacking the school, he killed three French soldiers.

Christian Etelin, a lawyer representing Souad Merah, told AFP that his client had been “set up” by the M6 television station to say what she said about her brother.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/french-police-summon-toulouse-killers-sister/2012/12/20/

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