Police Standoff with Terror Suspect Enters 2nd Day
TOULOUSE, France (AP) - France's interior minister says the chief suspect in a series of al-Qaida-linked killings wants to "die with weapons in his hands."
The 24-year-old suspect is holed up in an apartment in the southern city of Toulouse. There are suspicions that the gunman may have already committed suicide.
The minister says he's not been heard from since last night, but authorities are still hoping to take him alive.
Hundreds of French police have surrounded the apartment since the early hours of Wednesday and are working to try to capture suspect Mohamed Merah. Elite police squads cut off electricity and natural gas into the building and set off sporadic blasts overnight - some that blew off the apartment's shutters. Officials said it was a tactic aimed to pressure Merah to give up.
Authorities say Merah has boasted about carrying out the shootings of three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi, and three French paratroopers.
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