PARIS  - The father of extremist gunman Mohamed Merah plans to sue the elite French police force which shot his son dead in a shootout last week, his lawyer said. The legal action will not be taken against the French state "but against RAID (the elite police unit) who are responsible for the death of his son," Algerian lawyer Zahia Mokhtari, told AFP in Algiers late Friday. Mohamed Merah was shot dead by a RAID sniper on March 22 at the end of a 32-hour siege at his flat in Toulouse in southern France. The 23-year-old had shot dead three soldiers, and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school, in a killing spree this month that shocked the country.

French police arrested 19 people in a crackdown on suspected Islamist networks in dawn raids on Friday as President Nicolas Sarkozy made the battle against extremism the keynote of his re-election campaign.