Thursday, March 29, 2012

Algeria refuses Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah's body for burial; Merah to be buried in Toulouse

A sign on the ground marks the place for municipal workers to dig, March 29, 2012, in Cornebarrieu cemetery, a Toulouse suburb, southwestern France, in the muslim unit where the body of Islamist extremist Mohamed Merah should be buried. Merah, branded a 'monster' by French leaders after the killing of three Jewish children and a teacher and three French paratroopers, died in a hail of police bullets on March 22, after a 32-hour siege on his Toulouse flat. The body was expected to be repatriated to Algeria, his ancestral homeland, but Algeria refused it for security reasons and despite the family's objections. (Getty Images)
PARIS/ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian authorities have refused to allow the body of an al Qaeda-inspired gunman who killed seven people in France this month to be sent there for burial, an Algerian government source and an official at a top French mosque said on Thursday.

Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin who was shot dead by a police sniper last week following a more than 30-hour siege at his home in the southern city of Toulouse, will instead be buried there, Abdallah Zekri told Reuters.

Zekri, an adviser to the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris who was in Toulouse dealing with the funeral arrangements, said the mayor of the Algerian village of Bezzaz, where Merah’s father wanted him buried, had declined the request for security reasons.

“The mayor of Bezzaz gave a negative response,” he said. “He should be buried within 24 hours, probably in the Toulouse region, but it will be kept strictly private.”