Excerpt:

In the neighborhood where Mohamed Merah grew up, and was last seen joking with friends days after he had killed three French soldiers in a pair of shootings, the message to outsiders is clear: he was one of our own, no matter what he did.

The self-styled Islamist militant tore a wound in France's fragile sense of community when he gunned down the soldiers, sons of North African immigrant families like his own, and then a rabbi and three Jewish children - all in the name of al Qaeda.

For days, Toulouse lived in fear of the "scooter killer".


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