By LEE FERRAN and RYM MOMTAZ
Before he was killed by French special forces, the man accused of murdering Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and soldiers in France was allegedly able to get a video of his brutal attacks to a major news organization — but that video will not be aired, the organization said.
Al-Jazeera, an Arabic- and English-language news outlet based in Qatar, said today it will not air a video received by mail called “Al Qaeda Attacks France” that shows the three attacks in Toulouse and Montauban attributed to 23-year-old Mohamed Merah. The network decided not to air the video because it “did not add any information that was not already in [the] public domain… [and] did not meet the television station’s code of ethics for broadcast, according to a statement posted on its website.
Al-Jazeera’s Paris bureau chief, Zied Tarrouche, told a French television station the video contained edited footage of the killings along with music, religious singing and readings from the Quran.
“You can hear the gunshots at the time of the killings,” he told BFM-TV. “You can hear the cries of the victims.”
In the statement, Al-Jazeera said the video did not show Merah’s face, nor did it contain a statement from him.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called filming the shootings “diabolical” and had asked the managers of any television stations that had the footage “not to air them under any circumstances out of respect for the victims and out of respect for the Republic [of France].”
While police believe Merah was the lone gunman in the killings, they said he did not send the video and now authorities are trying to track down a possible accomplice, according to French media reports.
Merah, 23, was killed last week after a 32-hour standoff with French special forces. French authorities believe Merah was responsible for three separate attacks in France — the shooting of three French paratroopers March 11 and 15 and then the murder of a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren ages 4,5 and 7 March 19.