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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

French Police Raid Toulouse Terrorist Suspect's Home

By Susan Duclos

[Update] Suspect dies after police burst into his apartment and he jumps out the window after a 31 hour plus standoff, via CNN. [End Update]

On March 19, 2012, Findalis from Monkey in the Middle posted a piece here describing a massacre which Rabbi Sandler of Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem and his sons Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3.5, were murdered in Toulouse Monday morning, as was 8 year-old Miriam Monsonegro, daughter of the director of Ozar HaTorah Toulouse, Yaacov Monsonego. Two other children were fighting for their life at the time of that report.

Three French soldiers have also been murdered over the course of the last 10 days, allegedly by the same suspect or group.

The French media has identified the shooter as Mohammed Merah, a French national of Algerian descent. Merah has traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and called himself a mujahedeen, or freedom fighter, and had been under surveillance by the French domestic intelligence service for several years, according to The New York Times.

Early Wednesday morning police surrounded the suspects residence where he barricaded himself in the building leading to a standoff with negotiators attempting to talk him into surrendering.

BBC reports that several of Merah's relatives have been detained and his brother has been arrested in another part of Toulouse.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who was at the scene, told media that Merah has a Kalashnikov, a mini-Uzi 9mm machine pistol and several handguns.

Just hours before French police raided a suspect's house in Toulouse on Wednesday, FRANCE 24's Ebba Kalondo spoke to a man claiming to be the gunman. (Video below H/T The Jawa Report)

BBC also reports the motive behind the murders:

According to the French authorities, he said he had sought to avenge Palestinian children and to attack the French army because of its foreign interventions.

He had described himself as an Islamist warrior and member of the al-Qaeda network.

French news channel BFM TV said he was linked to Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride), an Islamist group banned last month in France.

Merah claims the murders were filed and "would be posted online shortly."

According to the video above, Merah has warned of further terrorist attacks to come.

The funerals of the three French children and a teacher who were shot outside a Jewish school have taken place in Jerusalem.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will later attend a memorial service for the three soldiers killed in the two attacks last week.

Story developing...