News

    French Shooting Suspect Dies in Firefight With Police

    France's Interior Minister Claude Gueant arrives to speak to the media after the assault to capture gunman Mohamed Merah during a raid on a five-story building to arrest a suspect in the killings of three children and a rabbi on Monday at a Jewish school,
    France's Interior Minister Claude Gueant arrives to speak to the media after the assault to capture gunman Mohamed Merah during a raid on a five-story building to arrest a suspect in the killings of three children and a rabbi on Monday at a Jewish school,
    Lisa Bryant

    French authorities are investigating whether a suspect in a string of shootings that killed seven people in southwestern France had any accomplices. The suspected killer, Mohammed Merah, died Thursday after a firefight with French police in the city of Toulouse.

    The last minutes of the Toulouse drama took place on the national stage - with live accounts of the firefight between French police and suspect Mohammed Merah. Authorities say the gunman, 23, kept shooting as he threw himself from the window of the apartment where he had been holed up for hours. A Paris prosecutor says police shot him in the head and he was found dead on the ground.

    Closure

    Merah's death brings closure to more than a week of killings in the Toulouse area - first targeting French paratroopers and then Jewish children and a rabbi. French authorities say the suspect acted methodically, at one point chasing an eight-year-old girl into a school courtyard before shooting her dead. Authorities linked the same weapon to all the shootings carried out by a man on a motorcycle.

    In an address to the nation shortly after the firefight, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for healing and unity.  

    Sarkozy said the French must overcome their indignation and control their anger. He said French Muslims had nothing to do with the crazy motivations of a terrorist, noting the assailant had also shot Muslims.

    Related video



    Trained by al-Qaida

    Barricaded in the Toulouse apartment for hours, Merah told police he received training from al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He killed his victims, he said, to retaliate for France's military involvement in Afghanistan -- and to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children.

    Sarkozy announced penal measures against those receiving terrorist training overseas or consulting Internet sites espousing hatred and terrorism. He called for new scrutiny of French prisons to prevent them from becoming places of extremist indoctrination.

    Members of France's Jewish and Muslim communities are staging a joint march on Sunday in memory of the Toulouse victims.  

    Healing process

    In a joint interview on France's RTL radio with France's chief rabbi, Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Muslim Council, said it is important for France not to mix Islam with terrorism. He said he is relieved the drama is over.

    The killings have cut to the heart of a presidential campaign in which immigration and Islam have been hotly debated. Sarkozy's handling of the events have clearly helped him in the polls. A new survey puts him two points ahead of his main Socialist challenger, just a month before presidential elections.

    Recent Attacks in Toulouse and Surrounding Area:

    • Sunday, March 11: Sergeant Imad Ibn Ziaten, a 30-year-old French paratrooper, is shot dead in a residential neighborhood in Toulouse. Police believe the shooter found him through a small ad he placed offering a motorbike for sale. The ad specified that he was a soldier.
    • Thursday, March 15: Corporal Abel Chennouf, 25, and Private Mohamed Legouad, 26, are shot and killed by a man on a motorbike, outside of their barracks in the town of Montauban, a town north of Toulouse. A third soldier, Corporal Loic Liber, is also seriously wounded in the attack.
    • Monday, March 19: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher, is shot and killed along with his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse. Seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school's principal, is also killed in the attack. All four had French and Israeli citizenship. An unnamed 17-year-old boy is also seriously wounded in the attack.
    • Wednesday, March 21: Two policemen are wounded during an attempt to storm an apartment in Toulouse occupied by the suspect, 23-year-old Mohammed Merah.
    • Thursday, March 22: Suspected killer, Mohammed Merah, dies after a firefight with French police in the city of Toulouse.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 4
        Next 
    by: Sam
    March 25, 2012 5:39 AM
    Fundamentalism is when you believe without thinking. Peace and good will can be harnessed from any religion if the believers THINK. If God says "kill", which he does in the Quran and the Bible, the thinking human will respond NO while the Fundamentalist will say "well, God told me to do it". Fundamentalism is everyone's enemy, regardless which religion you're referring to.

    by: Gab to Joseph
    March 23, 2012 8:41 AM
    You say this is bias reporting, but AlJazeera News reported it the same way. AL ARABIYA news reported the same way. Where is the conspiracy coming from?

    by: Anna
    March 23, 2012 12:07 AM
    i love to read Voanews,i belive the peace of world will be come ture in the near future.

    by: ali
    March 22, 2012 4:15 PM
    very bad

    by: joseph
    March 22, 2012 4:12 PM
    The killing of school children and soldiers in France last week is unacceptable. What is also very sad is the manner in which the matter was reported. At every opportunity, the word "Jewish" was used in US and Western press and dead soldiers rarely referred to as "Muslims" or their killing simply relegated to being a non-event. This exercise very clearly demonstratesx the biased reporting in Western press to illicit sympathy for one religious group over others. This too is not acceptable.

    by: Boston
    March 22, 2012 3:31 PM
    France and the people of France need to be proud of their police and military. This coward of a killer hid behind his religion, and shot children in the head. He was a terrorist that is all he was. He was a loser to the rest of the world and died as a coward.

    by: hammar
    March 22, 2012 3:11 PM
    islam is the faith of death......you can conquer by the sword....but you cannot
    win the soul...even mohammed will be dragged from his grave and judged by
    our "Lord and God, Jesus Christ @Judgement Day."

    by: Infidel
    March 22, 2012 12:12 PM
    "Sarkozy said the French must overcome their indignation and control their anger. He said French Muslims had nothing to do with the crazy motivations of a terrorist, noting the assailant had also shot Muslims." Nope. Nothing. "Because if zey are no eeting ze cheese and soorendereeng ze are no trooly French"

    by: MM
    March 22, 2012 9:59 AM
    Violence breeds violence, what comes around goes around and we sow what we seed. We should condem all violence, wheter it's a sicko religious fanatic or lying politicians sending armies out to attack civilian populations.

    by: kamil
    March 22, 2012 9:39 AM
    it's interesting comparison with Sgt. Bales. was he too traumatized by war? was he too lonely wolf or whatever? there is no point to site his ridiculous reasons for such atrocities.we are not informed by crazy reasoning of Sgt.Bales. with boring hypocritical rhetoric -like muslims really not like that and so on - it creates prejudices against them.
    Comments page of 4
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.