JUST hours after Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah was shot dead trying to flee a police siege questions are being asked in France about possible intelligence failures and the police tactics.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppé spoke out after officials admitted Merah - who claimed to be part of Al Qaida and was responsible for attacks in Montauban and Toulouse that killed three paratroopers and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school - had been under investigation for more than five years.
He said: "People can ask whether there were intelligence failures; we need clarity on this."
His cabinet colleague, Interior Minister Claude Guéant, stood by his intelligence agencies, saying "so-called lone wolves are formidable opponents" and difficult to handle.
Questions were being asked about surveillance of Merah when it was found that the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur interviewed him in November last year after he returned from Afghanistan. It was also revealed that he was on a list of those banned from flying to the US.
Prime Minister François Fillon said that in a country bound by the "rule of law" they could not keep someone under surveillance if they had not broken the law.
Former police commandos also asked why it took 32 hours to capture Merah - and asked:
* why did RAID fail to capture him before the siege started on Wednesday?
* why did the RAID police intervention team not know if Merah was alive or dead before they stormed the apartment at 17 Rue du Sergent Vigné?
* how could a team of officers allow Merah to jump out of a window (where he was shot dead, gun in hand, by a sniper)?
* former head of the elite GIGN gendarmerie commando, Christian Prouteau, asked why police did not use tear gas to Merah out of the flat and capture him alive
Now an inquiry is to be held.
Meanwhile, pupils and staff have returned to the Jewish collège-lycée Ozar Hatorah - where Merah shot three children and a teacher on Monday - and classes have restarted.