French Murder Suspect Killed
Following a nearly 2 day long standoff, the suspected Jewish school shooter has died during a 30 hour shoot out with French police, after falling out of a window. Guardian has some more details:"The French interior minister, Claude Guéant, has confirmed that Merah is dead and paid tribute to the police who conducted the raid... "Last night, our last contact with the killer showed us just how dangerous he was. This morning the decision was taken to intervene," said Guéant.... Guéant adds that Merah burst out of the bathroom as video surveillance equipment approached. He began firing with extreme ferocity." And from Fox News: "The suspect in an radical Islam-linked killing spree in southern France was killed after police raided his apartment to end a 30-hour standoff, the AFP reported, citing police sources. Mohamed Merah, holed up in an apartment in the southern city of Toulouse, has not contacted negotiators since Wednesday night. Reuters reported that explosions and gunfire were heard for about four minutes as police special forces moved in on the apartment. Authorities used gas to try and paralyze the suspect, the report said."
More from Fox and AP:
Gueant said "it's rather strange that he never reacted" to the detonations overnight.
Gueant arrived at the scene Thursday morning, as did silver-helmeted firefighters with first aid materials, including what appeared to be two stretchers. No information was reported about whether there were new injuries or whether that was just a precautionary measure.
Police were using their advantages -- numbers, firepower and psychological pressure -- in hopes of wearing down Merah, who has had no water, electricity, gas or most likely sleep since the early hours of Wednesday.
Holed up alone in an otherwise evacuated apartment building, Merah clung to his few remaining assets, like a small arsenal and authorities' hopes of taking him alive. He appeared to toy with police negotiators -- first saying he would surrender in the afternoon, then under the cover of darkness, then reneging on those pledges altogether, officials said.
Authorities said Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, espoused a radical form of Islam and had been to Afghanistan and the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan, where he claimed to have received training from Al Qaeda.
They said he told negotiators he killed a rabbi and three young children at a Jewish school on Monday and three French paratroopers last week to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest the French army's involvement in Afghanistan, as well as a government ban last year on face-covering Islamic veils.
French authorities -- like others across Europe -- have long been concerned about "lone-wolf" attacks by young, Internet-savvy militants who find radical beliefs online, since they are harder to find and track.
"Lone wolves are formidable adversaries," Gueant said.
He defended France's efforts to fight terrorism over the past decade, saying 700 people have been detained and about 60 "Islamists with terrorist tendencies" are currently in French prisons.
Merah's lawyer predicted a dramatic and somber end to the standoff.
"He wants to show he is exceptional, omnipotent, and this approach can only end up as something tragic," Christian Etelin said on news channel i-Tele on Thursday.
He said Merah had tried to join the military but was rejected. He said Merah was also disillusioned after a string of convictions for petty crimes and after efforts to reduce his sentences through work programs failed.
"He felt rejected by the periods of detention he was handed out, and for his wish to defend France in the army. Now, he is in a process of hate," Etelin said.
"He has no regrets, except not having more time to kill more people, and he boasts that he has brought France to its knees," prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference Wednesday.
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