The self-confessed gunman Mohamed Merah divorced his wife one day before French police launched an assault on his flat in Toulouse. Merah claimed he shot seven people in the Toulouse area to "avenge" Palestinian children.

"/> The self-confessed gunman Mohamed Merah divorced his wife one day before French police launched an assault on his flat in Toulouse. Merah claimed he shot seven people in the Toulouse area to "avenge" Palestinian children.

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CRIME

Toulouse gunman divorces wife hours before assault

The self-confessed gunman Mohamed Merah divorced his wife one day before French police launched an assault on his flat in Toulouse. Merah claimed he shot seven people in the Toulouse area to "avenge" Palestinian children.

23-year-old Mohamed Merah was married for three months to a yound woman in the Toulouse area, newswire AFP reports. Merah tied the knot in a religious ceremony in December.

“We were married on December 15 and our divorce was made official on March 20, two days before his death,” the woman told AFP. 

The couple were not joined in a civil marriage which means their union is not recognised by the state. 

His former wife, who has not been identified in the French press, has refused to say why their marriage ended so soon. 

However, the couple were divorced one day before the French police launched a assault on his flat in a quiet neighbourhood in Toulouse. The assault lead to a 32-hour stand-off before Merah was shot by a police marksman. 

On Monday last week, Merah shot three children and a rabbi at the Jewish school Ozar Hatorah in Toulouse. He claimed he acted to avenge Palestinian children and punish French for its involvement in Afghanistan. 

He also claimed two other attacks in which three paratroopers of North African and Caribbean origin were killed. 

CRIME

French courts drop rape case against film director Luc Besson

The Paris court of appeal on Tuesday confirmed the dropping of rape accusations against French film director Luc Besson, one of the highest profile controversies of the #MeToo era in the country.

French courts drop rape case against film director Luc Besson

Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy had accused Besson — director of the “Fifth Element” and “Leon” — of raping her over a two-year on-off relationship, and filed a complaint against him in May 2018.

Prosecutors dropped the case in February 2019 citing lack of evidence, but a new investigation was opened later that year after Van Roy brought fresh charges.

A French magistrate then closed the case in December 2021 and prosecutors asked for it to be dropped in April.

Besson had always denied the accusations, describing the case in 2019 as “a lie from A to Z”.

“The court confirmed my client’s innocence… Luc Besson regrets these four lost years,” his lawyer Thierry Marembert said after the verdict.

But Van Roy’s lawyer Antoine Gitton said an appeal would immediately be filed for his client with France’s Court of Cassation.

Besson has admitted having a relationship with Van Roy, who had minor roles in his films “Taxi 5” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”.

She filed the initial complaint for rape in May 2018 hours after meeting Besson, before filing another complaint two months later for other alleged rapes and sexual assaults.

At least three other women have made allegations of sexual harassment against Besson but he has always denied all the allegations.

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