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The first three victims were French soldiers, with a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school being murdered days later. Merah admitted Anti-Semitic motivations for his attack. Merah claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda, and desired to avenge deaths of Palestinian children and French military intervention. He had previously been placed under surveillance by the French domestic intelligence agency for activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He had previously tried to join the French army himself, but was turned down due to convictions of non-terrorist crimes. Reportedly, he became radicalised while in prison.. In 2008, a psychiatrist diagnosed Merah with narcissistic personality disorder. Earlier that year, Merah had attempted to commit suicide by hanging while in prison. Like psychopaths, narcissists can become bored very easily and many commit suicide in prison due to the monotony of prison life.
Once the Islamic extremist Merah became suspected of the murders he was tracked down by police, resulting in a siege at his house. This culminated in Merah jumping from a window at which point French cops killed him. Video footage of the murders was found in his possession.