European Jewish Congress
Terror trial for Toulouse killer's brother
France
Terror trial for Toulouse killer's brother

With Abdelkader Merah set to go on trial on Monday over an Islamist attack in southern France in 2012, the hearings were to bring back haunting memories of the bloodshed for the country’s Jews.

Merah’s trial - for allegedly helping his brother prepare for a nine-day shooting spree - is the first arising from the wave of Islamist attacks that have hit France in recent years.

Abdelkader’s brother Mohammed killed three soldiers before targeting a Jewish school in Toulouse, gunning down a teacher and three children aged three, five and eight.

The self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda militant was shot dead in a police raid two days later.

“The terrible shock of 19 March, 2012 — we still go through it every day, every time we bring the children to school or come to pick them up,” France’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, told AFP.

Some 300 Jewish families have since left Toulouse for Israel or other countries, according to France’s Jewish umbrella organisation CRIF - adding to the estimated 20,000 who emigrated from 2014-2015, spurred by fears over antisemitism.

Abdelkader Merah, 35, has been charged with complicity in terrorism, accused of knowingly helping his younger brother with preparations for one of the deadliest attacks against French Jews since the Second World War. He helped him steal the scooter used for the three separate shootings.

Another suspect, 34-year-old Fettah Malki, will also go on trial in Paris for giving Merah a bulletproof jacket, an Uzi submachine gun, and the ammunition he unloaded on his victims.

Neither denies giving Merah the items, but both insist they were unaware of his intentions.

Abdelkader faces a possible life sentence, and Malki 20 years behind bars.

Chief Rabbi Korsia said Jews were comforted by the outpouring of solidarity that followed the Charlie Hebdo and supermarket attacks in 2015, with 3.7 million taking to the streets of France against terrorism.

But he added that many still feel a lack of support.

“There is a kind of keeping us at a distance, an indifference,” he said. “At demonstrations, at ceremonies, we find ourselves very alone.”

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Monday, October 02, 2017
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