Alleged Killer of 7 Buried in France

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A radical Islamist gunman who allegedly killed seven people this month has been buried in his hometown of Toulouse, France, despite objections from the city's mayor and after a rejection from his family's native Algeria.

Mohamed Merah was laid to rest in a cemetery near Toulouse on Thursday, a week after he was killed in a barrage of police gunfire at his home in Toulouse.

Authorities say Merah admitted to killing three children, three soldiers and a rabbi in a series of shootings in the Toulouse area. Police say the gunman claimed links to al-Qaida and filmed his attacks.

Merah was of Algerian origin, but Algeria refused his family's request for him to be buried in the country because of security concerns. Later, Toulouse Mayor Pierre Cohen called plans for a burial in the city “inappropriate.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy weighed in, saying in an interview with a news channel that Merah was French and that his burial should go forward “without debate.” He added that Merah had behaved “in a monstrous way.”

The shootings raised the French government's concerns about Muslim extremists. France on Thursday announced it had banned several international Muslim clerics from entering the country for an Islamic conference next month.

In another development, Merah's father has announced plans to file a lawsuit against French police. He said they could have taken his son into custody instead of killing him.