Al-Jazeera won't air French attacks

2012-03-27 15:00

Paris - Al-Jazeera says it will not air a video that appears to show the attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school in southwestern France from the killer's point of view.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, other French officials and family members of the victims had asked for the footage not to be broadcast.

The television station received the footage on a USB key sent with a letter to their Paris office.

Police traced the attacks to 23-year-old Frenchman Mohamed Merah who was killed last week after a more than 30-hour standoff with police at his apartment building.

Prosecutors have said that Merah filmed all of his attacks, which began March 11 with the murder of a French soldier. Before the spree ended, two more soldiers and three Jewish children and a rabbi were killed.

Mother's plea

Earlier on Tuesday AFP reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and victims' families had urged television networks not to broadcast videos shot by Merah during his shooting spree.

The mother of Imed Ibn Ziaten, the first of three paratroopers killed during Mohamed Merah's shooting spree, begged for the footage not to be shown.

"I ask them not to show the footage. My son was killed, a 30-year-old child. And people want to show it as if it were a film. Please, I can't see that," the tearful mother said speaking to AFP by phone from Morocco where she was about to visit her son's grave.

"We were about to go to Imad's grave to mourn. I don't need this, they don't have the right to do that, you can't do that. We've suffered enough," she said.

The family of Jonathan Sandler, a Jewish teacher killed with his two sons in an attack on a school in southern city Toulouse, said it would take legal action to prevent their broadcast.

Merah victory

"The family calls on all media not to broadcast the video and to respect their pain and their mourning," family lawyer Patrick Klugman told AFP.

"We will use all judicial means possible to prevent any broadcast."

The uncle of 17-year-old Bryan Bijaoui, who was seriously wounded in the school attack, said he was shocked and revolted by the possibility of footage of the shooting being broadcast.

"The only reason would be to shock people and hurt them," Aaron Bijaoui said. "If ever they're broadcast, [Merah] will have won all the way."

French police said on Monday they had copies of the videos, shot by Merah .

Reports said he told police that he had uploaded footage of the attacks onto the internet, although no trace of those video has yet been found.

Third suspect

Meanwhile, French police said on Tuesday they were seeking a third person who may have been involved in the theft of the scooter that Merah used to carry out seven murders.

Merah's brother Abdelkader has already been charged with helping his sibling steal the powerful Yamaha scooter used in the series of shootings.

A police source said the third person, whom police have not yet identified, was also possibly involved in buying scooter accessories for Merah and may have helped try to neutralise the anti-theft tracking device on the scooter.

Investigators believe Merah carried out his killings alone but may have received logistical help from his friends and acquaintances, and in particular from his elder brother Abdelkader.

Abdelkader Merah was charged on Sunday with complicity in the murders and remanded in custody. He was also indicted for involvement in preparing a terrorist attack as well as the theft of a scooter used in the shootings.