In response to French President Nicholas Sarkozy's press conference Tuesday, the pan-Arabic satellite network Al-Jazeera agreed to refrain from broadcasting the video taken by Mohammed Merah, the Muslim terrorist who opened fire on a Jewish school, killing three children and their teacher.
Al Jazeera had obtained the video footage and a letter, which was contained on a USB key.
Zied Tarrouche, the station’s Paris bureau chief, said the letter was written in poor French with spelling and grammar errors and claimed the killings were carried out in the name of al-Qaeda, wire services reported.
“You can hear gunshots at the moment of the killings. You can hear the voice of this person who has committed these assassinations. You can hear also the cries of the victims, and the voices were distorted,” Mr. Tarrouche said.
“It’s a video montage of the various killings set to music and readings from the Koran,” a police source told the AFP.
Merah, who had previously boasted of filming his killings, was reportedly wearing a camera around his neck to record the attack. The footage appears to have been taken from the point of view of the killer. While the footage has been reported to be a bit shaky, it is of a high technical quality.
Tarrouche said investigators have been interviewing employees at the Paris bureau about the footage, but it is not yet clear when the footage was received or who had sent it.
Sarkozy also said affirmed that French security services would launch a hunt for Islamic extremists following the killing spree. "Are there other Merahs? All the security, intelligence and police services in democratic countries are on the lookout," Sarkozy told France Info radio.
He also asserted that the interior and justice ministries have been ordered to engage in a systematic evaluation of potential threats.