EDITOR'S NOTE TO ALL - This is an update for 2 1/2 year old story in France (you know, the country that hates hijab?) I found this online: Gunman had no ties to al Qaeda
Now I want to know (after you read all this) what do you think is really going on??
(Taken from CBS/AP) PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's spy chief says a gunman who killed three young children and a rabbi at a Jewish school only attacked the school after missing his original target — a French soldier.
Ange Mancini, Sarkozy's intelligence adviser, said on French TV Mohamed Merah wanted to kill a soldier he had targeted Monday in Toulouse, but arrived too late and instead besieged a nearby Jewish school.
Mancini told France-24 TV on Friday that "it wasn't the school that he wanted to attack," calling school shooting "opportunistic."
Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, was killed Thursday in a shootout after police raided the Toulouse apartment where he had been holed up for 32 hours in a standoff with authorities.
Also today, a senior official who is close to the investigation into Merah's attacks told The Associated Press there was no sign Merah had "trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists" such as al Qaeda. [?? ooops!]
He also said al Qaeda is a well-known "brand." And authorities have "absolutely no element allowing us to believe that he was commissioned by al Qaeda to carry out these attacks."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. [duh]
Merah was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police Thursday after a 32-hour standoff with police. Prosecutors said he filmed himself carrying out three attacks beginning March 11, killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head. Another Jewish student and another paratrooper were wounded.
Meanwhile, inhabitants evacuated from the apartment building when the siege began have been told they can go home tonight, reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Cobbe.
[not weapons & mayhem? hmmm]
"The fact of belonging to a Salafist (ultraconservative Muslim) organization is not unto itself a crime. We must not mix religious fundamentalism and terrorism, even if naturally we well know the links that unite the two," Fillon said.
A little-known jihadist group claimed responsibility for one of the killings. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Internet messages, said Jund al-Khilafah, based in Kazakhstan, issued a statement saying "Yusuf of France" led an attack Monday, the day of the Jewish school shootings.
A French official said the claim appeared opportunistic and that authorities think Merah had never heard of the group.
Investigators looking for possible accomplices decided to keep Merah's older brother, his mother and the brother's girlfriend in custody [huh? why?] further questioning, according to Paris prosecutor's office.
The head of the DCRI intelligence agency was quoted in the Le Monde newspaper as saying there was little sign that Merah's family was involved. Bernard Squarcini said Merah told police that he didn't trust his brother or mother
Police also said his mother declined to get involved in police negotiations Wednesday with her son, saying she had no influence over him. [eh? then why keep them all locked up?]
The official said when Merah was under surveillance last year, he was not seen contacting any radicals and went to nightclubs, not mosques. [whoa! So that's the new cover up for 'radicals'? Do salat in a club? WRONG!]