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Toulouse gunman was 'not working alone'

Mohamed Merah, the Islamist gunman who killed seven people in France’s southern city of Toulouse in March, made nearly 2,000 phone calls abroad, suggesting he was not acting alone, according to a French daily quoting declassified documents.

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AFP - Fresh evidence has emerged indicating that French authorities could and perhaps should have stopped Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah before he killed seven people in Toulouse in March.

Friday's edition of Le Monde reports that Merah, whose victims included three Jewish children, made nearly 2,000 telephone calls between September 2010 and February 2011, of which one in ten were to people located in a total of 20 foreign countries.

The revelation comes from declassified security documents which the daily said it had seen.

During the time that his calls were being monitored, Merah called or texted numbers in Egypt at least 94 times. Other calls were made to Britain, Spain, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Croatia and Bhutan, according to the documents.

Other sections of the declassified documents that were released to families of the victims earlier this month indicated that Merah was under surveillance from the end of 2009 and that his behaviour was classed "worrying" in late 2011.

Four months after France's domestic intelligence agency had arrived at that conclusion, Merah shot dead three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers before being killed himself on March 22 following a 32-hour police siege of his flat in the southern city of Toulouse.

Lawyers for families of the victims have said the documents declassified so far are insufficient to know the truth and are calling for DGSE foreign spy agency files to also be released.

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