Western spy services "detected" Mohamed Merah, the extremist who shot dead seven people in France, in Pakistan's North Waziristan region in 2011 but did not inform France until after his killings, a new book says.
The Merah Case: the Investigation
written by journalists Eric Pelletier and Jean-Marie Pontaut and to be released on June 14, says "Western intelligence services" established a link between Merah and "an organisation close to Al-Qaeda."
It says the spy services had detected the activation of "two Internet addresses" linked to Merah in September 2011 in Miranshah, the capital of Pakistan's Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold of North Waziristan.
It also says Merah was detected at the time using a telephone number known to be used to contact an extremist group.
The journalists wrote that France's DCRI domestic intelligence service "recognises" having received the information, but only "several days after" Merah's killings in southern France.
Merah, a self-confessed Al-Qaeda follower who admitted to having been in Waziristan, was killed in a police siege in Toulouse in March after shooting dead seven people, including three Jewish children, in a spree that shocked France.
Critics have questioned how France's intelligence services failed to head off Merah's killing spree given that he was already on their radar as an extremist and was on a US "no-fly" list.
France's new Interior Minister Manuel Valls told Monday's Le Parisien newspaper that he had asked the DCRI and national police for a report on "what was dysfunctional" in the Merah case.