Saudi global Salafi-Jihadi project (variously known as Al Qaeda, Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sipah-e-Sahaba etc) which is amply supported by Pakistan army, ISI in particular, has seemed to once again show its ugly face in the heart of Europe.
The ISI-Saudi duo has in the past executed terror attacks in Mumbai (India), Kabul (murder of Burhanuddin Rabbani, attacks on US and Indian embassies, attacks on Shia Muslims on Ashura etc) and also in Bosnia, Chechnya, UK, US and other parts of the world.
Mohamed Merah, French born of Algerian origins, the man responsible for the latest wave of terror attacks in France seems to be yet another product of the Saudi-ISI Jihad factory. Before being radicalised (Salafi-ized) in the Jihadi-Salafi battlegrounds in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he accrued a string of convictions mostly for theft, some involving violence. He later served time in a French jail.
But that was not enough to prick the interest of French intelligence:
Merah’s lawyer Christian Etelin explained: “ He had been kept under surveillance because he went to Afghanistan. But he came back and behaved like someone completely sane, not at all crazy. he didn’t give the impression of being fanatical.”
Merah spent a year in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. He says that is where he underwent military training with al Qaeda (and allied groups: Sipah-e-Sahaba, Taliban etc). His brother, who is being questioned by investigators, is known to have helped smuggle Jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.
Roland Jacquard, Head of International Terrorism Observatory: “Today, training camps also mean the internet, cyberspace and this is why the anti-terrorism services need to multiply their surveillance of these websites because it’s through these websites that they receive instructions or they self-radicalise themselves.”
Anti-Israel and anti-West hate propaganda is frequently published on several Pakistani and Saudi website which include My Bit for Change (http://www.mybitforchange.org and its facebook page), Haq Char Yar (http://www.kr-hcy.com), PkPolitics (http://www.pkpolitics.com), Difa-e-Pakistan (http://www.difaepakistan.com), Ummat (http://ummat.com.pk) and several others.
Brainwashed by anti-Semitic, pro-Salafi propaganda, Merah, a French citizen of Algerian origin, is suspected of killing seven people in the name of the al Qaeda militant network, including three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse in southwestern France.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Merah had been to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and had carried out his killings in revenge for French military involvement abroad.
In Pakistan, an intelligence official who declined to be identified said Merah had never been arrested there. “We have no information about him,” the Pakistani official said. – Reuters
Merah, 23, was under surveillance by French security forces after spending time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and apparently trained with jihadis there, according to French authorities.
Upon his return to France, Merah accessed jihadi content on the Internet, including scenes of brutal violence, a Paris prosecutor said.
The jihadi Internet world has been awash with calls to followers in the West to act by themselves, and to attack targets near their places of residence.
Those issuing the calls believe such tactics minimize the chances of terrorist plots leaking out to intelligence services.
One clear example of this trend was the online magazine, Inspire, produced by Yemini-American al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his American- Pakistani accomplice, Samir Khan. Both were assassinated in a US drone attack in Yemen last year.
Inspire told Western Muslims that they had a religious obligation to carry out a jihad, and repeatedly urged readers to act alone, pick targets near their homes and keep their plots to themselves.
“Based on your ability, you choose the target [in your home area].
“Your pool of targets is large, so make sure to think of all of the available options. An example of something local, easy and effective is attacking an army recruiting center, nightclub, highway or busy shopping mall,” said the first issue of Inspire, which was made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Last year, when asked by a reader how best to serve the jihad, the magazine advised him to attack civilians on his own, and argued against the idea of travelling to distant battle arenas.
In February, the Shumoukh Al-Islam jihadi Internet forum carried a message from a member calling on American Muslims to launch lone wolf attacks, according to MEMRI.
In other messages, the actions of Nidal Hasan, who was behind the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, are held up as glorious acts.
The jihadi messages go far beyond discussing attack tactics.
They are filled with murderous hatred of Jews, Christians and Muslims deemed to be “traitors” to the cause of jihad.
Merah’s apparent commitment to extreme jihad appears to have been hardened during two visits to Pakistan, in 2010 and 2011. Conflicting reports in France say his movements were reported to the French authorities, though he was not arrested. However, according to one report he was arrested in Kandahar, Afghanistan, at the end of 2010 but on an unspecified, non-terrorist charge.
According to interior minister Guéant, Merah discussed his movements yesterday with members of Raid, the Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence) unit, a special operations commando section of the French National Police.
“With the Raid negotiators, he explained a lot about his itinerary,” Guéant said. “His radicalisation took place in a Salafist ideological group and seems to have been firmed up by two journeys he made to Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Salafist is a term derived from the Sunni Islamic movement known as the Salafiyyah. Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islamic theology whose adherents espouse violent jihad against civilians as a legitimate expression of Islam.
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, Merah trained with Pakistani Taliban fighters in a border tribal zone before being sent into southwestern Afghanistan to fight against Nato forces supporting the Kabul government. French intelligence sources said about 30 French fighters trained by the Taliban were believed to have taken part in attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.
French troops are part of that Nato operation, which may explain why the first victims of the gunman’s killing spree were serving paratroopers killed in Toulouse on March 11th and Montauban on March 15th.
Having shot dead three soldiers in Montauban, Merah turned his attention to the Jewish school in Toulouse where he murdered a rabbi, his two children and another pupil.
Merah wanted recognition, it seems. He telephoned France 24’s editor Ebba Kalondo to tell him he had “filmed everything” with a small video camera and “intended to put the videos online”.
The French paper Le Monde has said Merah had trained with Pakistani Taliban fighters in a border tribal zone before being sent into south-western Afghanistan to fight against NATO forces supporting the Kabul government.
French troops are part of that NATO operation in Afghanistan.
Gueant said the Salafist group to which Merah belonged had no official name and had never given any indication of turning to criminal activity. Police were still trying to determine whether the gunman acted alone or as part of a group.
For Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman suspected of killing four Jews and three Muslim soldiers in southwestern France, the road to radicalization ran from a delinquent childhood in Toulouse to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Merah, 24, who was holed up in a suburban Toulouse apartment Wednesday, besieged by police commandos, claimed affiliation with al-Qaida and said he wanted to avenge Palestinian children, French Interior Minister Claude Guéant said.
The suspect, a French citizen of Algerian origin, had been under surveillance by France’s domestic intelligence service for several years after being identified in Afghanistan.
But back home he led a normal life of soccer and night clubbing, worked in a car body workshop, loved motorbikes and showed no sign of militancy, according to friends and neighbours.
Merah had a string of 15 convictions by juvenile courts, mostly for theft, including several involving violence, and had served several short prison terms.
But Guéant told reporters “there was no evidence that he was planning criminal actions.”
As police psychologists tried to talk him into surrendering peacefully, Merah gave the same impression of calm determination and selfcontrol as the gunman on a scooter recorded by security cameras at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school on Monday.
Exactly when and how Merah slid from petty crime to Islamist radicalism remains unclear.
“His radicalization took place in a Salafist ideological group and seems to have been firmed up by two journeys he made to Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the minister said.
During the first of those trips, Merah was picked up by chance at a road check by local police in Kandahar and handed over to the U.S. army, which put him on a flight back to France, according to François Molins, the public prosecutor in charge of the case.
A French security source said that was in 2010, after Merah had spent about a year in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. The gunman said he had undergone military training with al-Qaida in the Pakistani province of Waziristan, Molins told reporters.
U.S. officials declined comment on any role in handling Merah in Afghanistan but said they believed he was probably not affiliated with what remains of the core al-Qaida organization.
Instead, they believe he is probably a lone wolf, or almost-lone wolf, with at most a handful of associates including perhaps his brother.
The daily Le Monde said Merah had trained with Pakistani Taliban fighters in a border tribal zone before being sent into southwestern Afghanistan to fight against NATO forces supporting the Kabul government.
French troops are part of that operation, which may explain why the first victims of the gunman’s killing spree were paratroopers killed in Toulouse on March 11 and Montauban on March 15.
French intelligence sources said about 30 French fighters trained by the Taliban were believed to have taken part in attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.
Merah’s profile is typical of hundreds of second-or thirdgeneration French immigrants from north Africa who have travelled to Afghanistan or Pakistan over the last two decades attracted by militant Islamist groups, security officials say.
On his return to Toulouse, Merah led a normal life. He lost his job a few months ago and spent a lot of time alone at home watching videos on the Internet, including some of gruesome Islamist beheadings of hostages, according to the prosecutor.