The Toulouse gunman who killed seven people, including three young Jewish children, visited Israel for three days in 2010, Israeli security officials told Agence France Presse on Monday.
They said that Mohamed Merah entered the Jewish state on a French passport in September 2010 through the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan where he was checked and given a tourist visa.
He spent three days in Israel before leaving, again via the Allenby Bridge, they said.
It was possible that he had come to Israel with other French nationals, they said.
News that Merah had visited Israel was first reported on Saturday by French daily Le Monde, but Israeli officials did not confirm the report until now.
Le Monde quoted France's counter-terror chief Bernard Squarcini as saying the gunman was briefly held by Jerusalem police in 2010, after he was found in possession of a knife.
Israeli police have not confirmed any contact with Merah but said they were still "checking."
Local commentators speculated that he might have come to Israel to gather intelligence or undergo training with Palestinian militants.
"If these visits really happened we need to trace them back and examine what happened, what were his motives, if he came here to gather information or to undergo training, I don't know," former Mossad spy chief Danny Yatom told Israeli army radio last week.
Merah was responsible for three deadly attacks in southern France earlier this month which killed three young children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse, as well as three soldiers of North African origin.
The 23-year-old was killed on Thursday as he tried to shoot his way out of a Toulouse apartment following a 32-hour siege by French special forces.
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