In his alleged attacks, Mr. Merah appeared to follow al Qaeda's founding cause of killing "Jews and crusaders." He is suspected of having shot dead three soldiers from regiments that had dispatched troops to Afghanistan, and of having opened fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse, leaving four dead, including three children.
On Wednesday, police say he told his interlocutor that he had "brought France down on its knees," expressing regret that he had failed to kill more people.
"He appears to have drifted into a parallel world where he picked and chose elements to build himself a new identity," said Jean-Pierre Filiu, a professor in the Middle East department at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
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