French police given Toulouse video


Video footage filmed by French gunman Mohamed Merah during his bloody shooting spree was sent to the Al Jazeera television network in Paris, according to police.

Al Jazeera received a memory stick containing a montage of footage filmed by Merah with a camera attached to his body accompanied by Islamist war songs, and sent the package to police yesterday.

The package was dated Wednesday, March 21st, the day police surrounded Merah in his apartment in the southern city of Toulouse after a massive manhunt, according to a report in the Parisien newspaper.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked television networks today not to broadcast the footage.

"I call on executives of all TV stations that may have the images in their possession not to broadcast them under any
pretext out of respect for the victims and for France," he said.

Qatar-based network Al Jazeera said today it had decided  not to broadcast the footage.

The network's Paris bureau chief Zied Tarrouche said the video showed all the murders of the soldiers and then the rabbi and the Jewish children, at the entrance to their school shortly before the start of classes.

"You hear the voice of the person who carried out the killings. You also hear the victims' cries," he said.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the footage could have a dangerous effect on people inclined to radical violence.

"This incitement to violence, to murder, on minds that are often fragile or deranged, is absolutely detestable," he said.

French special forces shot the young Islamist the following day after a 30-hour siege. "Investigators are trying to find out whether the letter was posted Tuesday night by Mohamed Merah himself or by an accomplice Wednesday morning," the newspaper wrote.

Merah, who said he was inspired by al-Qaeda, admitted to killing three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi in a spate of shootings that sent shockwaves through France.

The Paris prosecutor in charge of the case said last week that Merah had filmed each of the shootings.