Scooter terrorist Mohamed Merah 'was not a lone wolf'

Secret files reveal killer's sister had been watched by the French security services since 2008

Paris

The older sister of the Toulouse scooter killer, Mohamed Merah, had been under surveillance as a possible Islamist activist since 2008, it emerged yesterday. Souad Merah, 34, provided money, mobile phones and internet addresses to her brother in the months before his murderous attacks in the Toulouse area in March, the French radio station RTL reported.

Security files, made available to prosecutors last month, also reveal that Ms Merah had been under surveillance long before the killer was, RTL said. She was identified by French internal security services as a possible threat in 2008 – at the same time as another brother, Abdelkader, who has been in custody for six months.

Families of Merah's seven victims called yesterday for Souad Merah to be arrested and questioned. Although she was briefly interviewed after the murders, the inquiry has concentrated on the possible role of Abdelkader, Merah's older brother, in inspiring and assisting the killings.

Mohamed Merah, 23, died when police stormed his flat in Toulouse on 22 March after a 32-hour siege. In previous days, he had murdered three off-duty French paratroopers and three children and a teacher outside a Jewish school.

Merah, who filmed his murders, claimed to be working on behalf of al-Qa'ida. Security services believe he was a "lone wolf", inspired by extremist Islamist teaching but acting independently or with the help of his brother. According to the files of the French internal security service, the DCRI, seen by RTL, his sister may have played, at the very least, a role in his conversion to radical Islam.

Souad Merah was under surveillance from 2008 as a follower of an extremist Salafist Islamic movement in Toulouse. She also visited Koranic schools in Cairo. She appears in French security service files in 2008 as a "follower of radical Islam" and in June 2011 she is listed as being "known for her links" to radical Salafists. In the months before the Toulouse killings, she provided Mohamed Merah with cash, mobile phones and the use of her internet address on several occasions, according to the files seen by RTL.

The revelations will reinforce speculation that Mohamed Merah may have been less of a lone operator than he seemed – or than French security services have claimed. They will renew questions about the failure of the security services to monitor Merah and his siblings more closely.

Abdelkader Merah, 29, has been arrested and placed under formal investigation for complicity in murder, theft and association with criminals.

Lawyers for the families of Merah's victims asked yesterday why Souad Merah had scarcely been questioned after the killings. They said that the notes revealed by RTL "opened possible new avenues of investigation".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Businessman at desk circa 1950s
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Development Manager - North Kent - OTE £19K

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are working with this secondary s...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea