Washington: The self-proclaimed al Qaeda militant who killed seven people in France, including three Jewish children, was on a US "no-fly" list, a US intelligence official said.
Mohamed Merah, who died yesterday in a hail of bullets after a 32-hour standoff with elite French police in Toulouse, had been on the list for "some time”, the official said asking to remain anonymous.
The list, which is put together by the US authorities, bans those named on it from boarding flights to or from the US. Merah, 23, who admitted shooting dead three soldiers and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school died in an intense firefight as he tried to shoot his way out of his surrounded apartment in southwestern Toulouse.
France's chief anti-terror prosecutor, Francois Molins, said Merah had taken responsibility for the shootings, claiming to be avenging Palestinian deaths and opposing the French military's involvement in Afghanistan and France's ban on full-face veils.
He said the militant had also claimed to have been trained by al Qaeda in Waziristan, a tribal area of Pakistan known as a haven for Islamist insurgents connected to Taliban guerrillas.
Molins said he had gone to the region twice and on one occasion been arrested by Afghan police and handed over to US Army troops, who put him on a flight back to France. (AFP)
First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 11:37