Al-Jazeera Refuses to Air Video of French Shootings

Al Jazeera received a video of the Al Qaeda-inspired shootings in Southern France, but it will not air it

Al Jazeera has declined to air a haunting video of three separate shooting attacks that occurred in southern France earlier this month.

The video, delivered to Al Jazeera’s Paris bureau on a USB stick, portrays the three attacks, executed by Mohammed Merah in Toulouse and Montauban, in chronological order.

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Merah said the shootings, which resulted in the deaths of three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi, were inspired by Al Qaeda. He titled the video "Al Qaeda attaque la France," meaning Al Qaeda attacks France.

Merah, who has admitted culpability, is not seen, but gunshots, the victims and Merah’s voice are all audible.

“In accordance with Al Jazeera’s Code of Ethics, given the video does not add any information that is not already in the public domain, its news channels will not be broadcasting any of its contents,” the network said in a statement.

Al Jazeera also posted an article on its website explaining the decision. French president Nicolas Sarkozy implored television networks not to air the video, and family members of the victims reiterated that request.

Zied Tarrouche, Al Jazeera’s Paris bureau chief, said the video was of high technical quality but the camera was shaky. It was doctored after the shootings, as evidenced by religious songs and recitations clearly added in after the fact. The note appended to the video was written in poor French.

The shootings have caused great alarm in France, the country with the largest Jewish community in Europe. Sarkozy has labeled it a “national tragedy.”