The Associated Press in reporting that hundreds of French policemen have cornered a terror suspect, a 24-year-old Muslim, in a building in the southwestern city of Toulouse, where the suspect has perpetrated three separate deadly shootings in recent days.
Mohammad Merah, the killer, got off his motorbike, grabbed
8-year-old girl Miriam Monsonego and shoot her in the head.
In all the three shootings, the suspect came riding a motorbike, and shoot his targets, before fleeing away on the bike. On March 10, a gunman on a motorbike shot and killed an off-duty paratrooper in Toulouse. On March 15, a motorbike-riding gunman opened fire on three uniformed paratroopers at a bank machine in Montauban, about 50 kilometers from Toulouse, killing two of the troops and critically wounding the other. And on last Monday (March 19), the motorbike assailant opened fire with two handguns in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons, and a girl. One witness described the gunman chasing small children "to kill".
The French interior minister Claude Gueant said on Wednesday (21 Mar 2012) that the suspect – a French national and known to have spent time spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan – is claiming links to al-Qaeda, talking about his Jihadist conviction, and calling himself a "mujahedeen".
He has thrown his handgun out of the window and is negotiating the terms of surrender. He is still carrying an AK47 machine gun and other weapons.
Earlier, there were exchange of fire between police and the suspect, which wounded three policemen. The brother of the suspect has been arrested.
Amidst rising Anti-Semitic violence against Europe’s Jews in recent decades, overwhelmingly perpetrated by Muslim immigrants, French President Nicolas Sarkozy dubbed the attack on the Jewish school "the worst school-shooting in French history", which also attracted strong condemnation from the U.S. and Israel.
France's terror alert level was raised to its highest level ever in the region and a massive manhunt was undertaken after the school-shooting, which lead to the suspect.
The suspect is giving conflicting reasons as his motive.
He is claiming that he wants "to avenge the deaths of Palestinians", which doesn't explain his targeting French troops.
On his targeting of French troops, especially of Muslim and French Caribbean origin, he said the ethnic origin of the troops is not a factor behind his actions. His target is the French army.
Sources: The Associated Press (21 March 2012); USA Today (19 March 2012)
written by fineliving56 , March 24, 2012
written by fineliving56 , March 25, 2012