Sister of Toulouse killer held for questioning

(JTA) — A French court extended the remand of Souad Merah, the sister of the Islamist who killed four Jews in Toulouse.

A Toulouse judge twice authorized police to extend her detention, most recently on Wednesday, the news site ladepeche.fr reported Thursday.

Merah was arrested Monday night on suspicion that she blessed her brother, Mohammed Merah, ahead of his killing spree, in which he gunned down four Jews in Toulouse in March 2012 as well as three French soldiers days earlier near the city, Le Journal du Dimanche reported Tuesday.

Merah’s mother, Zoulikha Aziri, also was detained and questioned for less than 24 hours last week, ladepeche.fr reported Tuesday. Her arrest was connected to detectives’ attempt to “open and close all the doors” connected to the case, an unnamed police source told ladepeche.fr.

Police found that a computer in Aziri’s home was used to communicate with one of the murdered soldiers to lure him to the scene of the crime. The soldier, Imad Ibn Ziaten, had placed an online ad offering to sell his motorcycle.

Merah said in filmed recordings that his crimes were part of jihad, a holy war. He was 23 when he was killed in a shootout with police at his apartment two days after the Toulouse killings at the Ohr Hatorah Jewish school.

In December, police interrogated Souad Merah in Paris after she was filmed saying she was proud of her younger brother “for how he fought till the end.” Filmed without her knowledge, she added, “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.” She later issued a statement saying she condemned his actions.

Police and security forces have arrested and released approximately 30 people in the course of the ongoing investigation into Merah’s actions, according to ladepeche.fr. Three have been charged; two are incarcerated and awaiting trial.

 

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