Channel won't air video showing French killings

The images appear to have been taken from the point of view of the killer


The Western Mail

A video showing the deadly attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school in France and sent to Arabic TV network Al-Jazeera will not be broadcast, the company said last night.

Its response came after French president Nicolas Sarkozy, other officials and family of the victims had asked for it not to be shown.

The television station received the footage on a USB memory stick sent with a letter to their Paris office. It appeared to have been taken during the shootings by 23-year-old Frenchman Mohamed Merah who was killed last week after a more than 30-hour stand-off with police at his apartment building.

Merah filmed all of his murders, which began on March 11 with the shooting of a French soldier. Before the rampage ended, two more soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi were killed.

Zied Tarrouche, Al-Jazeera's Paris bureau chief, said the letter, written in poor French with spelling and grammatical errors, claimed the shootings were carried out in the name of al Qaeda.

Mr Tarrouche said the images appear to have been taken from the point of view of the killer. He said they were a bit shaky but of a high technical quality. The video had clearly been edited with religious songs and recitations of Koranic verses laid over the footage, he said.

"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," he said.

Earlier Mr Sarkozy had asked that the images not be broadcast. He said: "I ask the managers of all television stations that might have these images not to broadcast them in any circumstances, out of respect for the victims - out of respect for the Republic."

There was no indication that other stations have the images.

Mr Tarrouche said: "We are not a sensationalist channel. We're not looking to broadcast images without weighing the risks and the consequences."

Copyright 2012 Western Mail and Echo Ltd

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