A standoff between French police and an Islamist extremist suspected of killing seven people over the past 10 days ended Thursday morning after 32 hours of tense negotiations. Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the suspect, 23-year-old Mohammed Merah, jumped to his death from a window in his Toulouse apartment after special forces officers forced their way into the home. Merah shot at officers as he jumped, but no one was wounded.
Authorities say Merah, a French citizen of Algerian decent, confessed to carrying out three separate shootings in or around Toulouse over the past two weeks. The first two left three paratroopers dead. The most recent occurred Tuesday morning outside the Jewish school Ozar Hatorah. Four people, including a rabbi and three young children, were killed.
Investigators tracked down Merah through a computer IP address. Merah used the computer to set up a meeting with his first victim under the guise of wanting to buy the soldier’s scooter. The IP address was traced back to the Toulouse apartment and police launched a raid around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Merah held them back with gunfire. Hundreds of officers surrounded the apartment building as officials tried to negotiate his surrender.
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