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French Jewish school shooting: Jihadi's brother jailed

Abdelkader Merah has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for terrorist offences. But he was cleared of complicity in the killing of seven people in Toulouse in 2012 by his brother Mohammed Merah.

A Paris court on Thursday sentenced the brother of French-Algerian jihadi Mohammed Merah, who murdered seven people in Toulouse in 2012, to 20 years in prison. 

Abdelkader Merah was found guilty of terrorist offences, but cleared of having a direct hand in the murders by his younger sibling, who was killed by the police at his apartment days after the terror incident.

"Abdelkader Merah shared his brother's motives but none of the elements in the case file or at the trial shows that he knew of the targets and crimes of his brother," Judge Franck Zientara said.

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Toulouse shooting: Scars run deep

During his eight-day rampage, 23-year-old Mohammed Merah killed three Jewish children and a teacher working in a Jewish school. He later killed three soldiers, two of whom were Muslim.

The killing spree turned out to be a precursor to a wave of Islamist-inspired attacks in France that have claimed over 200 lives in the past five years. The biggest was the coordinated attacks by Islamist militants across Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

A second defendant, Fettah Malki, received 14 years imprisonment for supplying the gun, ammunition and a bulletproof vest to the attacker.

The court ordered the two men to serve two-thirds of their sentences without the possibility of parole. They have 10 days to appeal against the verdict.

Abdelkader Merah being transferred to Paris

Abdelkader Merah was arrested shortly after his younger brother was shot dead

'Abdelkader Merah made Mohamed Merah'

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Abdelkader Merah, arguing that he mentored his younger brother and helped him steal the scooter used in the killings at the Jewish Ozer Hatorah School.

French attorney general Naima Rudloff argued that there was no doubt the older brother mentored his sibling.

"Abdelkader Merah made Mohamed Merah," she said.

Abdelkader Merah denied any involvement and demanded acquittal, accusing public prosecutors of making him a scapegoat as they could no longer pursue his brother.

On the radar

Abdelkader had been on the radar of intelligence services since 2006 for his closeness to radical Islamist cells.

During the probe into the Toulouse killings, Abdelkader told the investigators that he was "proud" of Mohammed for dying as a fighter, and that "every Muslim would like to give his life to kill his enemy."

Despite expressing pride over his brother, Abdelkader condemned the killings and denied his role.

ap/rt (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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