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France

Sarkozy welcomes Al-Jazeera's decision not to broadcast Merah's killings video

media French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on media not to broadcast Merah's … Reuters/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has welcomed Al-Jazeera TV’s decision not to broadcast Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah’s video of some of his crimes. French media hailed the decision but warned that the footage might appear on the internet.

"Al-Jazeera took a sensible decision and I warn that if any channel belonging to or close to institutions spreading terrorist ideas gets their hands on it we will not hesitate to do what we can to stop their signal," Sarkozy declared after the channel announced that the footage would not go on air.

It was sent to Al-Jazeera’s Paris office on a USB key along with a letter in poorly written French that claimed the attacks in the name of Al-Qaeda, bureau chief Zied Tarrouche said.

It was edited to show Merah’s killing of three French soldiers in two separate attacks in chronological order along with religious music, statements and verses from the Koran, he said.

The murder of three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse did not feature because Merah did not wear the camera strapped to his chest during that attack, as he had in the previous incidents.

Al-Jazeera said it had "numerous requests from media outlets for copies of the video", although all major French networks have said they would broadcast the videos of they became available.

The mailing of the video montage has increased speculation that Merah had one or more accomplice, apart from his brother Abdelkader, who has been charged with helping him steal the scooter he used in the killings.

Sarkozy also expressed “indignation” that Merah’s father, Mohamed Benalel Merah, is to sue the French state over his son’s death.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppé commented, "If I were the father of such a monster, I would shut my mouth in shame."

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