Editor’s Note – Mohammed Merah, a member of Jund al Khilafah, the alleged shooter in the terrorist attack in Toulouse, France left Afghanistan, after he was released or escaped jail there, some how made it all the way France. He appears to have arrived via ground transport since he was on the “no-fly” list since 2010. News reports say he is aligned with al-Qaeda, and this would likely answer the question on how he was able to get to France.
Jund al Khilafah, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, an al Qaeda and Haqqani Network-linked terror group that is based along the Afghan-Pakistani border, claimed credit for one of the shootings attributed to Mohamed Merah, a French citizen and resident of Toulouse who was killed in a shootout by French police earlier today after a two-day-long standoff. The terror group released a statement today that was published on several jihadist web forums. (From Threat Matrix)
It is well known that al-Qaeda and its associates, despite reports going back to 2009 and the assassination of Osama bin Laden, of its diminished status, has a world-wide network that includes the creation of travel documents, safe houses, vehicles, and personnel that are in place to facilitate just such migration of people sought by world authorities. The question remains, how did this man get out of jail in Afghanistan?
By DEVLIN BARRETT
WASHINGTON—The gunman suspected in a string of shootings in southern France was on the U.S.’s no-fly list as a suspected terrorist, according to people familiar with the matter.
Two people familiar with the case said Mohammed Merah was on the list because in 2010 he had been in custody in Afghanistan, then sent back to France. Counterterrorism officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which manages the U.S. no-fly list, also had collected information on Mr. Merah before the recent shootings in France, including the 2010 encounter, officials said.
The circumstances of his apprehension, detention and return to France weren’t entirely clear. U.S. military officials said they don’t have a record of his being in American custody while in Afghanistan.
Mr. Merah died in a shootout with French police following a tense armed standoff at a Toulouse apartment. During the standoff, Mr. Merah had claimed he had undergone training with al Qaeda in the Pakistan region of Waziristan, according to French officials.
The suspect apparently returned briefly to the region last year, and then arrived back in France in October, according to French authorities.
A 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian descent, Mr. Merah is suspected of killing four people at a Jewish school Monday, and fatally shooting three soldiers the previous week.