Paris — French security “failed” in assessing the danger posed by Mohammed Merah, the French Interior Ministry said in a report about the Jihadist killer of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse in March.
The 17-page report, which was submitted on Oct. 23, confirmed that the French domestic intelligence agency DCRI had been monitoring Merah since November 2011, four months before he gunned down three French soldiers and shot four at a Jewish day school.
The “various objective failures” meant that the domestic spy service was unaware that Merah, who has had at least 15 previous criminal convictions, had attacked a neighbor with a sword in June 2010 after she complained he had shown her son a jihadi video depicting decapitation.
The report by IGPN – the French police comptroller – said the security service “identified the change in Merah’s profile very late” despite repeated warnings he had radicalized in France and abroad.
Had this change been observed, the service may have increased surveillance on Merah, who turned into an Islamist hardliner in prison in February 2008, the report found.
Merah’s transformation to a radical only became apparent to the agency two years later.
His departure to Pakistan in August last year also went unnoticed because he passed through Oman, which is not on French intelligence’s 31-country outbound travel watch list.