France publishes final report on Merah affair
Report confirms Merah, who had been a well-known Islamist terrorist in Toulouse, had been under DCRI surveillance since 2006.
Alleged photo of Mohamed Merah from French TV. Photo: REUTERS/France 2 Television
The final report on the Mohamed Merah Affair, which has gained importance in
France as it begins its fight against terrorism, was published there on
Last March, Mohamed Merah, a young French Muslim originally from
Algiers, murdered seven people – including three Jewish children and the father
of two of them – in the southern city of Toulouse.
A few days after the
incident, the French police’s special intelligence unit, the DCRI, raided
Merah’s apartment and killed him.
Since then, every day sees a new
revelation about Merah, his radical network and his surveillance by the police
Recently, Interior Minister Manuel Valls asked the Inspection
Générale de la Police to make a complete report on the affair. The aim of the
report was “to reinforce the efficacy of the services in the face of mutations
of the terrorist threat,” he explained Tuesday during a visit to DCRI
headquarters in Levallois-Perret, near Paris, just before the report became
The report confirmed that Merah, who had been a well-known
Islamist terrorist in Toulouse, had been under DCRI surveillance since 2006, but
that there had not been a real awareness of the gravity of the threat he
“It was not a matter of human error, but all together a
conjunction of omissions and mistakes in judgment and problems of leadership,
organization of the services and the division of labor among the various
departments,” the report said.
The report highlighted the lack of
coordination among all the services involved in the operation. For one thing,
Merah’s apartment was not even under proper surveillance, said the report,
adding that the DCRI’s reaction time was too slow. It also cited the passivity
of the Toulouse police while awaiting orders, and the “unreadiness” of the
agents who had interrogated Merah in November 2011.
According to the
report, Merah’s trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan were known and he was already
considered a “direct threat,” due to connections with his Islamist fighter
brother Abd el-Kader and other alleged members of radical groups who were
arrested in 2009.
The report offers concrete suggestions for
“strengthening detection, surveillance and investigation” and for the creation
of “new structures” inside the DCRI “in order to fight terrorism.”