Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah shot dead

| March 22, 2012 | Comments (0)
Mohammed Merah shot dead by police in Toulouse, France

Mohammed Merah shot dead by police in Toulouse, France

A gunman responsible for shooting seven people in separate attacks has been shot dead by police.

Mohammed Merah has been holed up in the Croix-Daurade district of the city for 32 hours in a dramatic siege situation.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said “[The police] had never seen anything like this. In the end Merah jumped out of a window continuing to shoot. He was found dead on the ground. We were able to remove him and the dangers he posed to the people of Toulouse”.

Mr Gueant confirmed that two policemen had been injured in the crossfire, one shot in the leg and another is in a state of shock.

He said that Mohammed Merah’s gunfire on police was “frequent and severe” and they had never before seen “any such ferocity”.

Merah was believed to possess a cache of weapons, including an Uzi machine gun and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant earlier told BFM television that Merah had spoken to police through the door and had declared he was a “mujahideen” with links to al Qaeda who wanted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children in Israel.

The 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin yesterday had thrown a pistol from the window of the house in exchange for a “communication device”.

Gueant told reporters “the wanted individual shot at the door”, injuring two police officers. The officers were not seriously injured.

The minister described how the gunman’s mother was brought to the scene of the siege to help negotiations.

“She was asked to make contact with her son, to reason with him,” Guaent said.

“But she did not want to, saying she had little influence on him.”

The gunman’s mother and brother have now been arrested and the shooter has stopped talking to police, according to reports.

Speaking yesterday in Toulouse, French president Nicolas Sarkozy told of how he had spoken with representatives of France’s Muslim and Jewish communities. He said he told them “terrorism can not break our community”.

Merah, known to French intelligence services, has made trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the past and has links with people involved in jihadism.

On Monday this week a gunman riding a scooter killed three young children and a teacher at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse.

The deaths were quickly linked to the shootings of three French soldiers in two separate incidents earlier in the month.

A 30-year-old non-commissioned officer of North African descent was shot at point blank range on March 11 in Montauban by a man using a 9mm weapon.

On March 15 two more soldiers of African descent were killed and another wounded near their barracks in Montauban. On both occasions the gunman fled on a scooter.

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