Official: French Gunman's Mother Released

The mother of the Frenchman accused of killing seven people in a shooting rampage has been released without charge, a judicial official said Saturday.

A masked police officer searches for clues at Mohamed Merah's apartment building in Toulouse,

PARIS (AP) -- The mother of the Frenchman accused of killing seven people in a shooting rampage has been released without charge, a judicial official said Saturday.

The official says Zoulika Aziri was released late Friday. He spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because the information wasn't cleared for public release.

Aziri's son Mohamed Merah is blamed for a series of deadly shootings which have shocked France and upended the country's presidential race. Merah, who claimed allegiance to al-Qaida, died in a hail of gunfire Thursday after a dramatic 32-hour-long standoff with law enforcement.

Investigators are trying to figure out whether Merah acted alone, and his older brother Abdelkader Merah, along with Abdelkader's girlfriend, remain in police custody in Paris.

Police union spokesman Michel Crepin told reporters that detectives have already gathered evidence to suggest that Abdelkader may have helped his brother carry out the shootings.

Asked what police had on the brother, Crepin said there was evidence to suggest that Abdelkader Merah had "furnished means (and) worked as an accomplice."

Crepin refused to comment further, saying it was for a judge to decide what charges, if any, to bring. Under French law if either of the two continue to be held beyond the weekend, preliminary charges will have to be filed.

Abdelkader had already come under police radar, according to officials. He was questioned several years ago about alleged links to a network sending Toulouse-area youths to Iraq, but no action was brought against him at the time.