Toulouse Terrorist's Al Qaeda Mentor Killed in Pakistan
An Al Qaeda recruiter who allegedly mentored Toulouse terrorist Mohammed Merah has been killed in Pakistan, the SITE jihadist monitoring service reports. A post on an extremist web forum Monday announced the death of Belgian-Tunisian terrorist Moez Garsalloui, according to SITE.
Garsalloui had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Otzar HaTorah Jewish day school by Merah in the southern French city earlier this year.
Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, claimed to have attended Al-Qaeda-style training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He killed seven people - three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers - in a wave of shootings in and around Toulouse in March. He killed himself after a 32-hour siege of his flat by police.
Algeria refused to allow the burial of the Toulouse terrorist's body in its nation's soil.
The post announcing the death of the jihadist recruiter and propagandist said he was killed in a raid. It added he had previously escaped bombings in Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan district of Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.
No details of the raid were given but the jihadist website announcement appeared a few days after two U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan killed 23 people, according to Pakistani security sources, AFP reported.
The death notice named Garsalloui as the leader of “Jund al-Khilafah,” the Army of the Caliph – a terrorist group that had claimed responsibility for the March 19 attack in Toulouse by Merah. A forum post from one of Garsalloui's accounts in April had described meeting Merah in Pakistan and mentoring him, according to SITE. The post described helping the French terrorist to make himself understood to other fighters in Arabic.
Garsalloui and his wife, Belgian-Moroccan jihadist Malika el-Aroud were convicted in June 2007 by a Swiss court of running websites that supported terrorism, AFP reported. He served three weeks in prison and then moved to Belgium, where he and his wife were charged with recruiting jihadists to fight in Afghanistan.
Garsalloui left Europe in late 2007, according to AFP. He was later identified as a link between Al Qaeda leaders and a Belgian network caught in a December 2008 raid and charged with planning an imminent terror attack.