Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah
Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah

The Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah killed three soldiers of north African origin and injured another soldier in two different attacks.

A few days later he struck again, this time at a private Jewish secondary school and killed four people including three children. He said he was avenging the deaths of Palestinian children, an argument also often used and manipulated by Islamist extremist group or organisations.

But a group of Palestinian students on an exchange visit to London denouned Merah in no uncertain terms.

"We do not kill children and do not call on children and civilians to be killed. What happened in France will not avenge the death of Palestinian children and nobody but we can speak in our name", Israa, a 20-year-old student from Al-Quds University Jerusalem (who did not want her full name to be published), told IBTimes UK.

"Our culture, beliefs and religion prevent us from killing civilians. Us, Palestinians, denounce the killing of our children by the Israeli army but we do not call for Jewish children to be killed."

"We do not have a problem with Jewish people. I have lots of Jewish friends and there are Jewish Palestinians. We are in conflict we the state of Israel and against its occupier's policies, not because Israelis are Jewish."

Israa, insist the conflict will only be resolved by using international law and human rights. As a young Palestinian woman she also said Palestinian do not fight for a free Palestine to have it hijacked by fundamentalism.

"The ideal we have of a free Palestine is not one of a country oppressed from within where women cannot speak or hang out with men and where their access to education is restricted. We describe our movement as one of resistance not of jihad, there is a huge difference," she added.

In 2008, Osama Bin Laden released an audio message in which he vowed to keep fighting Israel to liberate Palestine. The Palestinian cause, he added, was at the forefront of Al-Qaida's jihad with the West.

Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, said in May 2011 that in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli forces had killed 1,335 children in direct military operations and arbitrary shootings during the last decade.