News

Shooting Suspect Expresses Desire to Die

A TV grab released by French TV France 2 shows an image of 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent Mohammed Merah, March 22, 2012.
A TV grab released by French TV France 2 shows an image of 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent Mohammed Merah, March 22, 2012.

A standoff is continuing in Toulouse, France, where police have been trying to force the suspect in the shooting deaths of seven people to surrender.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant says it is unclear if 24-year-old Mohammed Merah was still alive, since police had no contact with him during the night.

Gueant said the suspect, who claims ties to al-Qaida, has expressed a desire to die with "weapons in hand."

Media reports say several loud explosions have been heard near the building where Merah has been holed up since early Wednesday.  

The Frenchman of Algerian origin is accused of murdering a rabbi and three children - ages four, five and seven - at the Jewish school in Toulouse Monday before driving off on a motorcycle. French police say the alleged shooter used the same gun to kill three French soldiers of African and French Caribbean origin last week in Toulouse and a nearby town.

Two police officers have been wounded in earlier attempts to storm the Toulouse house where the suspect is holed up.  Officials say Merah initially told authorities he would surrender Wednesday evening.

Interior Minister Gueant says police are determined to take him alive.

Gueant says the suspect was angry about French military intervention abroad, and said he wanted to avenge Palestinian children killed in the Middle East. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the killings, saying it is time for criminals to stop using the Palestinians to justify their cause.

Police say they received a tip from a Yamaha dealer in Toulouse who said he remembered that a young man had asked to have an antitheft device removed from a motorbike.  Authorities say it was the same kind used in the recent murders.

U.S. President Barack Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy while aboard Air Force One en route to Nevada.  A White House statement says President Obama expressed his solidarity with President Sarkozy and the government and people of France.  The statement said President Obama underscored that the American people stand shoulder to shoulder with "our French allies and friends in this trying time."

During a funeral for two of the paratroopers in Montauban, north of Toulouse, President Sarkozy said the slain soldiers were victims of "terrorist executions."  He added that the suspected gunman will fail in his attempt to divide the country.

Far right political leader Marine Le Pen lashed out against "Islamic fundamentalism" in an interview on Israeli radio Wednesday.  

The bodies of the rabbi and three children were buried Wednesday in Israel.  


Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin
March 22, 2012 8:24 AM
The Palestinian PM told Merah and those who would carry out their innate vendetta against others in the name of Palestine, "It is time for those criminals to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions". One person who is surely happy with Merah and his ideals is Ahmadinejad of Iran. He's not an Arab even though he has Jewish blood in him, but celebrates Jerusalem Day just to keep inciting trouble in the region. PA pM says, SHUT UP!

by: asitis
March 22, 2012 2:33 AM
More INNOCENT victims of " mohammad's "[ PART PLEDGERIZED ] MISGUIDED , CRAZED & ENFORCED EVIL koranic islamic BRAINWASHED CULTURAL/ POLITICAL LEGACY ie. MYSOGONYSTIC, LOW SELF ESTEEM ORGANIZATION ...

by: Donna Morales
March 21, 2012 7:11 PM
.KILL HIM IN THE PRESENCE OF THE WHOLE WORLD. DRAG HIM THROUGH THE STREETS.

by: Eagle Kiss 1
March 21, 2012 6:36 PM
"Merah told the police he had planned more killings and that he would "bring France to its knees."...to avenge Palestinian children killed in the Middle East.... France should apply Shariah Law and do the same: "Bring Islam to its kneees" and kill more Islamic terrorists. This would be cool.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs