UK & World News

  • 4 December 2012, 11:30

Toulouse Gun Attack: Two Accomplices Arrested

French police have arrested two alleged accomplices of Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah, who shot seven people dead in Toulouse in March.

A man, identified as Charles Mencarelliand described by police as a member of the traveller community, was arrested in the southern town of Albi,about 45 miles (70 km) northeast of Toulouse.

He was arrested without incident and was to be brought to Toulouse for questioning, police sources told theAFP news agency.

Mencarelli's former partner was arrested separately at her home in Toulouse.

They are both being held on suspicion of helpingMerah, 24, carry out the al Qaeda-inspired attacks, the sources said.

Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, shot a rabbi, three Jewish schoolchildren and three French paratroopers before being shot dead in a police siege.

Merah's elder brother,Abdelghani, previously told French media that the gunman had accomplices, including someone from the traveller community who may have been involved in stealing the scooter Merah used in his attacks.

Another brother, Abdelkader, was also arrested as a suspected accomplice and remains in custody.

Merah, a petty criminal lured into Islamic extremist circles in Toulouse,visited Afghanistan and Pakistan before he carried out the attacks.

French intelligence services have been heavily criticised for failing to realise the threat posed by Merah.

His attacks prompted a rethink of French security policies. Legislation is being considered that will allow authorities to prosecute citizens who attend militant Islamist training camps abroad and to boost monitoring of extremist websites.

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