March 22, 2012- On Thursday, French authorities announced that an Islamic extremist was killed after he jumped from a window, with gun in hand, during a shootout with French police. The extremist had boasted of killing seven in a strike aimed against France.
Claude Gueant, the French Interior Minister, said the gunman claimed he was linked the group al Qaeda. He jumped from the window as police entered the apartment he was held up in and they found him hiding in the bathroom.
Mohamed Merah was just 23. His death ended a 32-hour standoff with police, who tried in vain to capture him alive. Merah killed seven people including a rabbi, three schoolchildren and three paratroopers. The seven were killed over a period of 10 days. One other student and another paratrooper were wounded from the gunman’s attacks.
Authorities said that Merah expressed that he was proud of killing the seven people. He told negotiators, during the hours they spoke, that he carried out attacks on three motorcycles near the city of Toulouse. These killings are thought to be the first inspired by radical Islamic motives in the country in over 10 years.
Merah was of Algerian descent but a French citizen. He had previously visited both Pakistan and Afghanistan and claimed he trained with al Qaeda in Waziristan. Two officers were wounded in the fierce firefight with Merah, before he jumped to his death.