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Gunman's brother faces possible charges over French shootings

Seven people were shot dead in three separate gun attacks in south-western France.

French police search for clues at Mohamed Merah's apartment.
French police search for clues at Mohamed Merah's apartment.
Image: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere/PA

THE MOTHER OF the man accused of killing seven people in a shooting rampage in France is set to be released, but his older brother has been transferred to Paris to face possible charges, a police union official said today.

Abdelkader Merah was transferred to French police’s anti-terrorist headquarters in Paris with an eye toward possible charges, union spokesman Michel Crepin told reporters. Merah’s brother, Mohamed, died in a barrage of gunfire at his Toulouse apartment on Thursday following a series of killings that has shocked France and upended the country’s presidential race.

Investigators are trying to figure out whether or not Mohamed Merah acted alone, and Crepin told reporters that detectives have already gathered evidence to suggest that Abdelkader Merah may have helped his brother carry out his rampage.

Asked what police had on the brother, Crepin said there was evidence to suggest that Abdelkader Merah had “furnished means (and) worked as an accomplice.” Crepin refused to comment further, saying it was for a judge to decide what charges, if any, to bring.

The brother, who was questioned several years ago about alleged links to a network sending Toulouse-area youths to Iraq, is being held along with his girlfriend.

Under French law if either of the two continue to be held beyond the weekend, preliminary charges will have to be filed.

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