Connect to share and comment

Palestine distances itself from Toulouse shootings

PM says 'criminals' can't use Palestine to justify actions.

Toulouse shooting 4Enlarge
The French special forces unit, RAID, is leading the operation to capture the suspect, Mohammed Merah. (PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad today distanced the Palestinian Authority from the shootings in Toulouse, France, that killed three Jewish children and a Rabbi.

He said “criminals” shouldn’t justify their actions by referencing Palestine’s pursuit of statehood, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“It is time for those criminals to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions or claim victory to the rights of Palestinian children, who only seek a decent life for themselves and all children of the world,” Fayyad said, according to the LA Times.

Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old Algerian-born Frenchman, has reportedly confessed to gunning down four people outside a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday, and three French soldiers earlier.

Reports claim Merah said the killings were to “avenge Palestinian children and attack the French army.”

He claims to have been trained by al Qaeda.

More from GlobalPost: Mohammed Merah under police siege (PHOTOS)

The shootings are at the center of political debate in Israel, too, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for “greater clarity” between terrorist attacks and attacks on terror.

“Terrorism is a systematic and deliberate attack on civilians, a deliberate attack against children,” Netanyahu said, according to Arutz Sheva. “There is a substantial difference between such deliberate attacks against civilians and children, and unintentional strikes against civilians that are part of legitimate actions to fight terrorism.”

The comments also referred to a recent speech by a European Union executive who compared the Toulouse shootings with “what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world,” Reuters reported.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said her comments were “grossly distorted,” The Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Old problems plauge new India

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120321/palestine-distances-itself-toulouse-shootings