The initial information about Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah suggests that his is a story of modern France. While the Presidency and certain media commentators would like to stop all debate about what this event means for our society, the precise opposite is true. Like the earlier case of Algerian-born Khaled Kelkal, who was shot dead by gendarmes in 1995 after being implicated in a wave of bomb attacks in France, the story of Mohamed Merah holds up a mirror to society. And, says Mediapart editor François Bonnet, it raises vital questions for presidential candidates who seek to provide an alternative to the current presidency.
The role of the authorities in hunting the gunman who carried out the atrocities in Toulouse and Montauban in south-west France has come under the microscope since the main suspect was shot dead in a siege at his flat. Questions have been raised about how long it took to locate Mohamed Merah after the first attack, and to what extent the French intelligence agency had been monitoring him before the murders took place. Michel Deléan reports.