French police burst into the apartment of a suspected al Qaeda-trained militant accused of killing seven people, prompting a shootout that ended with Mohammed Merah, gun in hand, jumping out a window to his death, authorities said Thursday.
Two police officers were injured in the raid, which came after a siege of the apartment lasting more than 31 hours, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said.
Merah, 23, was wanted in the killings of three French paratroopers and of three students and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, in a string of shootings that began on March 11.
He originally said he would surrender to police, Gueant said, but later vowed that he would resist and kill anyone who tried to take him into custody.
He emerged from a bathroom and launched a barrage of gunfire at police as they burst in Thursday morning, Gueant said, before jumping from the window, still shooting.
Gueant said earlier police wanted to capture him alive, saying the priority was “to hand him over to the authorities.”
Merah had said he wanted to “die with weapons in his hands,” Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said overnight.
Police had been surrounding his house since 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, having tracked him down through computer sleuthing and clues linked to his motorcycle, authorities said.
As police first attempted to seize him early Wednesday morning, Merah shot and wounded two officers, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
Merah had told French police that he trained with al Qaeda in Pakistan’s Waziristan region, bordering Afghanistan, and that he had planned to attack more soldiers and police Wednesday, Molins said. He said he was acting alone, the prosecutor added.
Ebba Kalondo, the senior news editor of the television network France 24, told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that the suspect had called her about two hours before police surrounded his home and laid out details of the killings that only police would have known — “very, very specific information” such as the number of shots fired and the shell casings left behind.
“He seemed to be very aware that a massive manhunt was under way for him,” Kalondo said. “He said he wasn’t scared, and that neither capture nor death scared him at all.”
On Wednesday, during the siege, French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at a memorial service for the three paratroopers, calling their killing “a terrorist execution.”
One of the victims was due to become a father soon, but “a killer without scruples decided that he would never meet the child to be born,” Sarkozy said.
Earlier Wednesday, Sarkozy called on his nation “to unite together to show that terrorism will not be able to fracture our national community.”
Sarkozy’s office said U.S. President Barack Obama had called his French counterpart to offer his condolences and praise the efforts of French police. France and the United States are more determined than ever to fight together against terrorist brutality, Sarkozy’s office said. Read more in CNN.
May he rot in the deepest level of hell!!!
Islam is a religion of peace, you know. Those who say otherwise are racists, and only do it because Rush Limbaugh tells them to believe that and also because they hate Obama. And anyway, it’s all Bush’s fault. And the tea party is racist, it’s the Muslims who love Jews and peace. And if you say otherwise, you just hate Obama and you’re a racist. And stop being a war-mongerer. Iran is a peaceful country and needs a nuclear research lab for medical research. The real threat to civilazation is global warming. I mean global cooling. I mean climate change.
Islam is a religion of peace, you know. Those who say otherwise are racists, and only do it because Rush Limbaugh tells them to believe that and also because they hate Obama. And anyway, it’s all Bush’s fault. And the tea party is racist, it’s the Muslims who love Jews and peace. And if you say otherwise, you just hate Obama and you’re a racist. And stop being a war-mongerer. Iran is a peaceful country and needs a nuclear research lab for medical research. The real threat to civilization is global warming. I mean global cooling. I mean climate change.
If they took him alive, his answers to their questioning might have an imbarrisment to the powers that be.
The French can never do anything right. Why did that siege last so long anyway?
WCBS News Radio referred to him as a serial killer. Not a terrorist.
It is a much better ending for him that he died in the raid. Why give him a platform on which to spew his hatred, which would be the case if he were brought to trial? In addition, France is an anti-Semitic country; I’m sure they would have found a way not to bring him to full justice.
To: Mr. Disgusted
You should be disgusted with your opinions. How can you support the death penalty??? You must be a blind Rush Limbaugh fan who can’t think for yourself. You must be a racist and you must hate Obama. Don’t you know that every man deserves a fair trial, and that the death penalty is cruel punishment? And anyways, its all Bush’s fault. The French are not anti-semitic. Neither are Arabs or Muslims. Islam is a peaceful religion. It is people like you who blindly follow Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who call for war with peace-loving-Iran. You are the ones that are anti-Semitic. Don’t you know that Iran loves Jews? The real threat to civilization is not from Islam. It is from global warming. I mean global cooling. I mean climate change. Obama 2012!
To the jokers: families are still sitting shivah. Please, a little respect for those who are still suffering and our fellow yidden in France who have to live with the fear of the anti-semitic Muslim population of France on a constant basis. We don’t have a clue here in Lakewood and I daven that we should not have to ch’vsh find out.
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