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Daybreak: Likely French Killer Cites Palestinians

Plus new Iran negotiations on horizon, and more in the news

Marc Tracy
March 21, 2012
French police surround suspect in Toulouse.(Getty Images)
French police surround suspect in Toulouse.(Getty Images)

• The suspect in the French Jewish school (and also French soldiers) killings, Muhammed Merah, is in custody after a long stand-off. He claims to belong to Al Qaeda and that the killing was done to avenge Palestinian deaths. [NYT]

• Of course, this makes Catherine Ashton’s remark connecting the attack to Gaza, which Israelis are furious about, all the more striking and, I’d argue, heinous. [NYT]

• In his annual Nowruz message, President Obama wished Iranians a happy new year while slamming their leaders for curtailing free speech and access to world opinion as well as for their continued refusal to meaningfully negotiate about their nuclear program. [JPost]

• It does look like a new round of negotiations is set to begin next month, though we can’t know how meaningful those will be yet. [Haaretz]

• Israel wants to remove the contents of its embassy in Cairo, which in the past year has been stormed once. Not clear if diplomats also would leave; what this could mean for diplomatic ties; and why Israel is afraid the embassy might soon be under assault again … . [Reuters]

• The administration exempted those countries that have already taken substantial steps to stop doing business with Iran—chiefly European countries and Japan—from new, biting sanctions. [NYT]

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.