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French police surround suspect in Jewish school shooting

A stand off between police and the suspected Toulouse shooter happened early Wednesday.

Three hundred police officers surrounded an apartment in the south of France. Police reported that shots rang out from inside of the apartment where it wounded two officers at 3:30am.

The man apparently threw a handgun out the window, but police were sure there were more guns inside.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant hoped that the man would give himself up after the standoff reached the sixth hour.

“The suspect told me — and I hope he told me the truth — that he will surrender in the afternoon,” Gueant said.

Later the suspect stopped responding to police, Gueant told reporters.

According to a source, the suspect is Mohammed Merah. Gueant also said that Merah had weapons stashed in a car near the apartment.

The suspect, 24, is accused of a series of shootings in the last 10 days which killed seven people including three children.

The suspect has been confirmed as a French national of Algerian origin who spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“He claims to be a jihadist and says he belongs to al Qaeda. He wanted to avenge the Palestinian children and take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions,” Gueant told reporters at the scene.

However, Gueant did not confirm how they got this information.

The shootings targeted minorities which put France on scarlet alert. It is the highest level in the country.

The police tracked the suspect down by using internet technology. The suspect used his brother’s IP address to respond to an ad that the first victim posted.

Imad Ibn Ziaten was a paratropper and was the first victim. Police discovered that Ziaten posted an ad online to sell his scooter.

The suspect, using the brother’s IP address, set an appointment with Ziaten to inspect the bike. He agreed to meet the suspect in Toulouse where he was shot and killed on March 11, according to Gueant.

Four days later, a man wearing dark clothing and a motorcycle helmet shot and killed two soldiers in the southwestern French city of Montauban. A third soldier was injured.

A man with a similar helmet driving a scooter approached a Jewish school Monday. The shooter pulled up by the school and shot a teacher and three children, two of which was his sons. The third child was the daughter of the school’s director.

According to police, the same guns were used in all three attacks.

As the manhunt was launched after the shootings, police zeroed in on the apartment. It was located close to the Jewish school.

As for the bodies of the four victims, they will be buried in Jerusalem.

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