French Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/France 2 Television)
The Merah Affair seems to have become a never-ending story in France: Almost
nine months after Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Franco- Algerian Islamist, killed
seven people – three soldiers and four Jews – and wounded five others, two
suspected accomplices were arrested on Tuesday.
The pair, both aged 38,
are a Gypsy who converted to Islam, and his ex-girlfriend, according to Obs, the
website of the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.
The arrests were carried out
by the DCRI (Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence), an intelligence
agency that reports to the Interior Ministry, and the SDAT (Anti-Terrorism
Sub-Directorate) judicial police.
The male suspect was arrested in Albi,
85 km. northeast of Toulouse, and the woman was taken into custody in Toulouse,
not far from the apartment where DCRI officers killed Merah after a siege last
The suspects names were not released.
The male suspect
denied he is the “third man” the police have been hunting for, whom they believe
helped Merah and his brother Abdelkader steal the motor scooter used in the
The new suspect’s lawyer, Pierre Alfert, told journalists: “I
asked him and of course he told me what he already told the policemen who
questioned him: He was not there, he is converted to Islam, but the fact that he
goes to the mosque and knew the Merahs doesn’t mean he is the ‘third man.’” Ever
since the attacks, investigators have been searching for accomplices, especially
after Abdelkader Merah, and also Abdelghani Merah, a third brother who published
a book against Mohamed’s radicalism, said such a person exists.
Wednesday, the lawyers of two of the soldiers killed in March, Samia Makouf and
Beatrice Dubreuil, told reporters: “The families wish more accomplices to be
arrested [and] that the ‘third man’ and the jihadist accomplices will be