French authorities have no evidence that al-Qaida commissioned a French gunman to go on a killing spree that left seven people dead, or that he had any contact with terrorist groups, a senior official said Friday. France’s prime minister and other senior figures have been fending off suggestions that anti-terrorism authorities fell down on the job in monitoring 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, who had been known to them for years. The senior official who is close to the investigation into Merah’s attacks told The Associated Press there was no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists.”
A little-known jihadist group claimed responsibility for one of the killings. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Internet messages, said Jund al-Khilafah, based in Kazakhstan, issued a statement saying “Yusuf of France” led an attack Monday, the day of the Jewish school shootings. The French official said the claim appeared opportunistic and that authorities think Merah had never heard of the group.
Read more: Washington Post