Mother of French gunman filled with remorse

2012-03-24 19:00
Toulouse - The mother of the French gunman, who killed seven people including children in a spate of attacks that shocked France, is filled with remorse and fears reprisals, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Zoulhika Aziri was detained on Wednesday and released on Friday night by investigators probing her 23-year-old son Mohamed Merah's killing spree in southwestern France this month.

Merah himself was killed on Thursday trying to shoot his way out of an apartment following a 32-hour police siege in the city of Toulouse.

He murdered three Jewish children, a trainee rabbi and three soldiers in three separate gun attacks between March 11 and March 19 in and near Toulouse, causing deep anguish in France in the build-up to a presidential election.

"Could she have prevented these things, this is what she is asking herself," lawyer Jean-Yves Gougnaud said, describing Aziri as "wracked with guilt and remorse".

"She's angry. She is wondering why her son did this and blames herself somewhat," Gougnaud told journalists outside the police station where Aziri was held.

Azira is also anxious for her own safety, he said. "She is afraid of retaliation, that is why she is not going home for the moment."

Merah's brother Abdelkader, 29, who is still being detained, has told police he was proud of Mohamed's actions.

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