‘Proud’ brother denies helping French gunman

Abdelkader Merah, along with his wife, was whisked to Paris on Saturday for further questioning.

Zeenews Bureau

Paris: The older brother of an al Qaeda-inspired gunman has denied having helped Mohamed Merah.

However, a source disclosed Abdelkader Merah had said he was "proud" of his late sibling`s killing spree.

Mohamed, 23, died in a hail of police gunfire on Thursday after a gunbattle with police that ended a more than 30-hour siege at his Toulouse apartment, during which he admitted killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three soldiers in three separate attacks.

Abdelkader should be brought before a judge today.

A French website cited a source close to the investigation as saying: "His brother is in the heart of our investigation to reconstruct the route of Mohamed Merah and try to determine whether or not there was a structure behind them.”

Abdelkader, along with his wife, was whisked to Paris on Saturday for further questioning. Both were arrested in the early hours of last Wednesday as negotiators sought their help in trying to persuade Merah to turn himself in. Merah`s mother, arrested at the same time, was released on Friday evening, the public prosecutor`s office said. Her lawyer, Jean-Yves Gougnaud, said she told him "she saw nothing coming" and felt guilty for what had happened.

Police have found explosives in a car Abdelkader owned, according to the public prosecutor leading the case. He was already known to security services for having helped smuggle jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.

A police source said on Saturday that at a closed hearing in Toulouse he had declared himself "proud" of his brother`s killings and had admitted helping Mohamed steal the scooter used in all seven murders. He had denied any knowledge of his brother`s murderous plans, however, the source added.

(With Agency’s inputs)

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