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TOULOUSE

Toulouse gunman ‘was being watched’

French security services had watched Toulouse shooter Mohamed Merah since the end of 2009 and judged his behaviour "worrying" in late 2011, according to declassified documents seen by AFP.

Toulouse gunman 'was being watched'

As part of a probe into his killings, France's DCRI domestic intelligence agency has released documents relating to the Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist who killed seven people in March.

French intelligence has been criticised since it emerged that it was known Merah had travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan before he went on his killing
spree.

Both Merah and his older brother Abdelkader had been under surveillance by the DCRI since 2009, according to the documents, in particular after the two travelled in 2010 to Egypt, where Merah went to learn Arabic.

Identified in 2010 as a "new recruit" in radical Islamist circles in Toulouse, Merah was questioned by the DCRI late last year after a trip to Pakistan.

In a document written in December, the service warned of Merah's "worrying behaviour" and said he was a "privileged target" for further surveillance.

Merah shot dead three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers before being killed himself on March 22 following a 32-hour police siege of his flat in the southern city of Toulouse.

Lawyers for families of the victims have said the documents declassified so far are insufficient to know the truth and are calling for DGSE foreign spy agency files to also be released.

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AIRLINE

New flights to south of France launched by Jet2

The low-cost British airline Jet2 has announced it will begin operating new services between the UK and southern France, starting in the summer of 2022.

New flights to south of France launched by Jet2
Flights will operate from May 1st 2022. Photo: AFP

When travelling is possible again, getting to Toulouse from the north-west of England is set to become much easier with the launch of new flights from Manchester Airport.

Jet2 already flies to Bergerac, La Rochelle and Nice. The company announced the new destination in response to demand for summer 2022 holidays.

Flights to the “Pink City” in south west France will operate from May 1st until October 16th 2022.

“Since putting our Summer 2022 programme on sale from Manchester Airport, we have added a significant number of flights and destinations in response to the demand from customers who want to get their all-important holidays booked in,” Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said in a press release.

Since the British government announced a lockdown roadmap on Tuesday, with plans to end England restrictions by June 21st, the company has begun to see a surge in bookings.

READ ALSO: Will summer holidays in France be possible this year?

However the present rules on entry into France from the UK are the strictest they have ever been, with virtually no travel allowed between the two countries and no end-date to the current restrictions.

Jet2 plans to reopen its services in mid-May.

“Following the UK government announcement that international travel will not return until May 17th 2021 at the earliest, we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 16th May 2021,” Jet2 said on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/jet2tweets/status/1364188796506562561

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