On March 11, 2012, Mohamed Merah, nicknamed by the press as “the scooter killer”, was killed in cold blood by a French soldier of Moroccan origin, Imad Benziatin. 10 years later, his mother Latifa is still fighting religious extremism.
Emad was a great soldier. A boy who loves life,” writes Latifa Benziaten, mother of a French paratrooper of Moroccan origin Imad, the first victim of Mohamed Merah.
On March 11, 2012, he refused to kneel in front of his attacker. He remained standing. This is the last message he left us before he died. We never forget. He is a hero. She continued in a tweet she posted on Friday, ten years after the day he passed away.
Emad was a great soldier. Boy I love life.
On March 11, 2012 he refused to kneel in front of his attacker. He remained standing. This is the last message he left us before he died. Never forget.
He is a hero.
This is my son. pic.twitter.com/kxvtaiWT0b
– Latifa Ben Zayatin (@atifaIbnZ) March 11, 2022
Imad Ben Ziaten, 30, was shot in the head. On that day, he was in an abandoned car park in Toulouse. “Before his assignment to Paris, the Chief Sergeant came to sell his motorcycle to a buyer who responded to his advertisement posted on Le bon coin. The 650cc 3 Suzuki seller wrote “I am a soldier,” without thinking that this commercial argument would sign his death warrant. Are you a soldier?, It was confirmed that the killer was crouched on a powerful motorbike, a GoPro camera mounted to his chest, before firing a Colt 45 at the paratrooper, ” AFP in 2017.
At the time, the police did not suspect a terrorist attack, but rather a settlement of accounts, or even a drug smuggling dispute.
“We didn’t know who killed my brother. Terror was out of mind at the time. We were steered towards the premise of settling accounts, little news. We even suspected ourselves at first. Then we hinted that it might be a drug dealing story,” As his brother Elias says in an interview with blue Francepublished on Friday.
Four days later, Corporal Abd El-Chenouf, 25, and Private 1st Class Mohamed Ghouad, 23, of Toulouse were also killed.
At just 23 years old, the “scooter killer,” also known as the “lone wolf,” claimed seven victims between March 11 and 19, 2012: three soldiers, three children and a Jewish teacher between Toulouse and Montauban. It wasn’t until March 21 that police succeeded in killing during an attack on his apartment, a self-proclaimed al-Qaeda jihadist.
Since then, his mother, Latifa, has been more committed than ever to combating extremism, particularly through her association “A Pillar of Youth and Peace”.
Latifa Benziaten is the mother of Imad, one of the three soldiers executed by terrorist Mohamed Merah on March 11, 2012, 10 years ago today. Since then, she has been fighting the extremism of young people from tough neighborhoods. pic.twitter.com/KCdlVNWIR4
– Ina.fr (Inafr_officiel) March 11, 2022
At the beginning of February, Pope Francis received her at the Vatican. “The meeting that made me feel this deep peace that refreshes him. And this, with ten years approaching the tragic disappearance of my son Imad,”
It was with great emotion and great honor that I was able to meet His Holiness Pope Francis in the Vatican.
An encounter that made me feel such deep peace that refreshes him. And this comes as we approach 10 years of the tragic disappearance of my two sons, Emad. pic.twitter.com/K26j61f6Xs
– Latifa Ben Zayatin (@atifaIbnZ) March 2, 2022
Today, it is located in the strait in northern Morocco to honor him. A revival ceremony will be held in front of the tomb, where it has been resting for ten years.
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