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Families of the victims, meanwhile, were frustrated that Merah was not taken alive.

“Imad’s parents feel that the justice they were expecting was stolen from them,” said lawyer Mehana Mouhou, lawyer for the family of the first paratrooper killed, Imad Ibn-Ziaten. “His mother wanted an answer to the question, ‘why did he kill my son?’ “

The lawyer also questioned why hours of negotiations between police and Merah failed Wednesday. Merah repeatedly promised to surrender, then eventually changed his mind.

“They could have very well not killed him. There were no hostages. The neighbors were evacuated,” Mouhou said.

Cathy Fontaine, 43, who runs a beauty salon down the street from the building in Toulouse where Merah was killed, said France should have a “zero tolerance” policy for people who seek out training in Afghanistan and potentially refuse to let them back in the country.

“An individual who goes to be trained in Afghanistan, you have to follow him,” she said.


Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.