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France Probes IS Child Executioner Case

  • VOA News

The mother and father of Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab held by Islamic State in Syria as an alleged spy, react with a picture of him in their East Jerusalem home, March 10, 2015.

The mother and father of Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab held by Islamic State in Syria as an alleged spy, react with a picture of him in their East Jerusalem home, March 10, 2015.

French authorities are investigating whether a man and a boy featured in an Islamic State video that shows the shooting death of an Arab Israeli have connections to an extremist who attacked a Jewish school in southern France in 2012.

A French official told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the pair were French citizens.

The video released online this week shows an interview with 19-year-old Muhammad Musallam, accused of being an Israeli spy. Wearing an orange jumpsuit, he is sitting in a room and talking about how he had been recruited and trained by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.

After the interview, Musallam is shown with the man and the boy. The man speaks in French, referring to the boy as a "young lion of the caliphate." The boy then leads Musallam to a field and shoots him in the head.

Police are assessing whether the boy and French-speaking man are related to gunman Mohamed Merah, who killed three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in a 10-day, religiously motivated terror spree that began March 11, 2013, in the Toulouse region of southwestern France.

A French police source told Reuters that the intelligence service believes the French-speaking fighter is Merah's half brother, Sabri Essid.

The source said the service was also trying to determine whether the child was Essid's son.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment on the video. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in May that Merah's sister, Souad, was likely to have traveled to Syria with her children.

More than 400 French citizens have traveled to fight with militants in Syria and Iraq. More than 100 have returned home after fighting there, according to French officials.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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