Intel agency monitored gunman’s sister: report

Authorities were monitoring the sister of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah as “an expert in radical Islam” long before he was on their files, new information from international radio station RTL revealed on Monday.

Intel agency monitored gunman's sister: report
File photo of Mohamed Merah

Souad Merah, sister of Mohamed, now 34, was known to the DCRI, the French intelligence agency, for being close to extreme Salafi Muslims in Toulouse and attending classes to study the Koran.

One record of her activity in police files said she was “known for her links to radical Salafi Muslim movements” and had bought four return plane tickets from Paris to Cairo, where she studied the Koran.

Her brother Mohamed, who had been on police files since 2009, followed in her footsteps and took the same Koran classes in Cairo a year later.

Souad also helped her brother financially, giving him her mobile phone and cash according to the RTL report.

Mohamed Merah, who claimed to be part of Al-Qaida, died in Toulouse on March 22nd this year after a two-day raid on his apartment. He confessed to three shootings earlier in the month in which seven people died.

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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 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.