His father, Michel, was a respected butcher whose shop window looked out on the cobblestoned town square. His sons worked in the shop as teenagers, and Jerome pursued the trade for a time. He was raised Roman Catholic. When his fathers business failed, he began drinking alcohol and doing drugs. By 1997 he had converted to Islam, and moved to London, where he came under the influence of radical Muslims. They frequently attended the same mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui, and allegedly befriended him.
Jerôme later traveled first to Peshawar, Pakistan, and later attended an Afghan training camp, and is believed to have played a role in supplying the forged documents to the two men who assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud in September 2001.
Upon returning to France, he was placed on the CIA terrorist watchlist. The French police were alerted of this after he was arrested for shoplifting a pair of shoes in Calvados, France. Jerôme Courtailler spent six months in jail.
- Vidino, Lorenzo. "Al-Qaeda in Europe", 2006. Prometheus Books
- Rotella, Sebastian; David Zucchino (October 22, 2001). "Embassy plot offers insight into terrorist recruitment, training". The Advocate. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
- Barnett, Antony (October 18, 2001). "UK student's 'key terror role'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
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