x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

'French shooting suspect dead'

Claude Gueant, the French interior minister, confirms the death of Mohamed Merah without saying how he died except that he had leapt from a first floor window of his Toulouse flat and was found dead on the ground.

Members of the RAID special police forces unit prepare to enter the apartment block where Mohamed Merah, the man suspected of a series of deadly shootings, was holed up today.
Members of the RAID special police forces unit prepare to enter the apartment block where Mohamed Merah, the man suspected of a series of deadly shootings, was holed up today.

TOULOUSE, FRANCE // A French police source said the suspect blamed for seven killings in southern France is dead after resisting RAID special police forces who had moved into his bisieged apartment in Toulouse.

Claude Gueant, the French interior minister, confirmed the death of Mohamed Merah without saying how he died except that he had leapt from a first floor window of his flat and was found dead on the ground.

The police source, cited by French television, was speaking after a long burst of automatic gunfire was heard from the building.

Earlier, Mr Gueant said Merah, a 23-year-old French national of Algerian origins, wanted "to die weapons in hand".

Police casualties were light. Mr Gueant said one police officer received a foot injury and another was severely shocked, in a final gunfight as the self-proclaimed killer of three children, a teacher and three off-duty soldiers carried out the threat made in his last contact with negotiators at 10.45pm (1.45am UAE) last night that he would die resisting capture with arms in his hands.

"We have one priority: to take him alive so that he can surrender to face justice. We hope he is still alive," Mr Gueant had said, noting that it was "quite strange that he did not react" when police exploded a series of charges overnight to get his attention.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said an investigation is under way to see if Merah had any accomplices. speaking after Merah was killed after a 32-hour standoff with police.

Mr Sarkozy also said that anyone who regularly visits "websites which support terrorism or call for hate or violence will be punished by the law."

He promised a crackdown on anyone who goes abroad "for the purposes of indoctrination in terrorist ideology".