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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs