Mohamed Merah was shot as he jumped out of a window during a gun battle with police after a 32 – hour standoff in Toulouse, France. Merah had told police negotiators that he murdered staff and students at the school and that he killed victims in other attacks to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest French troops being deployed to Afghanistan.
Merah claimed to have received training from Al Qaeda and to have visited Afghanistan and the Pakistani region of Waziristan, which is heavily infiltrated by militants. As with the horrific bombing in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh, lone individuals who are motivated by extremist ideologies can be difficult to guard against due to limitations of one of the more effective counter terrorism measures – intelligence operations.
This tragic incident demonstrates how terrorists have often specifically targeted younger K-12 students in their attacks globally. Unfortunately, school terrorism is a school safety concern for schools in most regions of the world to at least some extent.