Algeria refuses to take gunman Merah's body
The Islamist gunman branded a "monster" by President Nicolas Sarkozy will be buried in France because Algeria refused to let him be buried there, a Muslim official said Thursday.
Abdallah Zekri of the Paris Grand Mosque said Mohamed Merah's family had asked him to organise a funeral in France after Algeria cited security reasons for rejecting their request for him to be buried in their ancestral homeland.
"The family has asked me to organise a funeral within 24 hours," said Zekri, who was speaking in the southwestern city of Toulouse where Merah died last Thursday.
Zekri said he believed that the 23-year-old, who died in a hail of police bullets last Thursday after a 32-hour siege on his Toulouse apartment, would be buried in the Muslim section of the city's Cornebarrieu cemetery.
The body had been due to be flown to Algeria on Thursday, his family said Wednesday.
Merah boasted before he died that he gunned down three soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a teacher in three separate attacks.