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Toulouse killer's victims want inquiry as Hollande vows to wipe out anti-Semitism in France

media François Hollande and Benjamin Netanyahu at the Toulouse ceremony Reuters/Bob Edme/Pool

Relatives of victims of Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah are demanding an inquiry into charges that French intelligence failed to act on clues that he was a risk. On Thursday President François Hollande acknowledged that there had been failures in intelligence at a ceremony to honour the Jewish children and rabbi Merah killed outside a school in the south-western city.

With visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side, Hollande vowed to “eradicate” anti-Semitism in France and ensure the safety of Jews in the country.

We're confronted with a situation where so many aspects of the case don't add up. That goes for the court, the police, and the many grey areas in the intelligence service, whose central and regional offices aren't on the same page when it comes to the Toulouse cell. When all these things are so unclear, it's natural to suggest there should be an investigation at the parliamentary level.
Elie Korchia, lawyer for Merah's victims' families

And he said that there had been shortcomings in intelligence with spies watching Merah but failing to prevent his killing spree, which also resulted in the deaths of three soldiers.

As evidence that agents warned that Merah was potentially dangerous ahead of the killings in Toulouse and Montauban, lawyers for families of victims have demanded a parliamentary inquiry.

In the latest revelations, two Toulouse regional security officials reportedly told a magistrate that they had tracked Merah in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but were told to stop surveillance and look into whether he could be recruited as an informant.

The two, Toulouse intelligence boss Christian Ballé-Andui and a brigadier known as “Hassan”, also said that they alerted their superiors that the Montauban killer might have been Merah in June.

The interior minister at the time, Claude Guéant, on Friday admitted that there was a failure during the operation that ended with Merah’s death.

The killer managed to escape surveillance via the basement of the block of flat where he lived and made a phone call, Guéant said, while insisting it was the only mistake made by the secret services.

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