Timeline of Events: French Killer Dies After Shooting Police
Mohammed Merah who had confessed to the killings of 7 French citizens, including the 3 children gunned down at point blank range at a Jewish school on Monday, leaped to his death on Thursday morning following an armed standoff with police.
Below is a timeline of events, beginning on Wednesday morning when reports of Merah’s eventual demise began to take shape.
6:00am: At 9:30am GMT French police entered Merah’s apartment, after a siege that lasted over 30 hours, the assault left 3 officers wounded and the killer dead. Upon entry the police moved cautiously taking precautions for booby traps, Merah emerged from the bathroom firing multiple weapons and then jumped out of a window, he was found dead on the ground.
10:42pm: French newspaper Le Monde reports that 10 detonations have been heard since midnight in France at the scene of a police siege of the apartment of Toulouse killer, other reported that gunfire was heard. It is believed that the police have adopted a strategy of ‘lesser risk,’ avoiding for now a full frontal assault. “We are waiting,” Toulouse prosecutor, Michel Valet, told The Associated Press.
8:15pm: Le Point reports that the police conducting the raid are continuing negotiations with Mohammed Merah.
7:40pm: French newspaper Le Point quotes a police source saying that blasts that were heard earlier breached a wall in the suspect’s apartment, “to get a better view.” The source added that the police had not yet entered the apartment.
7:20pm: Toulouse deputy mayor confirmed that an assault on the apartment where the suspected terrorist has been holed up has begun. 3 blasts were heard accompanied by flashes of orange light.
4:15pm: French Interior Minister Claude Gueant says Merah told police that he declined a suicide attack mission from Al Qaeda, but accepted a “general task” to attack France while in Pakistan.
Gueant also said that French authorities prefer to bring Merah in alive so he can be brought to justice, echoing many of the comments made by French officials throughout the almost day long standoff.
3:15:pm: According to a report from France 2 TV, the negotiations between Merah and French police have not produced any results.
3:00pm: The standoff between Merah and French police has now reached 19 hours.
2:20pm: French police search for a woman who spoke with Merah just days ago on a train in Paris, near the time of the murders at Ozar Hatorah, the Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
1:50pm: According to the French newspaper Le Point, Mohammed Merah, who is still engaged in a standoff with French police, told the officers on Wednesday that he is not suicidal and he “prefers to kill and stay alive”.
1:30pm: French prosecutor Francois Molins says Merah plans to give himself up late on Wednesday while police say they are ready to “lead an assault” on the apartment Merah is hiding in, according to the French publication Le Point.
12:00pm: French prosecutor Francois Molins said Mohammed Merah had planned to kill two police officers in Toulouse on Wednesday and that Merah claimed to “have brought France to its knees.”
Molins also said Merah, who has confessed to 7 murders in Southern France recently, including 3 children at a Jewish school on Monday, had planned to turn himself in during the afternoon but that was pushed back until the evening.
CBS News is reporting that if Merah does not surrender soon, French police are “preparing to storm” the apartment he is hiding in.
11:10am: French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at a memorial service for the three French soldiers shot dead by Mohammed Merah.
“They were killed because they were French soldiers, because they were the French army and this is the French republic that was affected,” he said.
Merah claims to be a member of Al Qaeda and has told police he killed the three french soldiers in response to France’s military presence in Afghanistan.
10:50am: Following a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarokzy, local representative of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, Nicole Yardeni said Mohammed Merah was planning to kill again on Wednesday morning. “He had a plan to kill again”, she said. “It was intended for him to kill this morning.”
Sarkozy divulged this information to religious leaders during a meeting, according to the French newspaper Le Point.
10:30am: French President Nicolas Sarkozy left a police barracks near the scene of Wednesday’s standoff but did not make any comments.
“I deny, that’s wrong,” he told AFP. “The negotiations continue.”
10:00am: Mohammed Merah, who confessed to killing all seven individuals in Southern France recently, including 4 people in a brutal attack at a Jewish school on Monday, has been arrested after an armed standoff with French police, reports BFM TV in France.
Merah, who was in prison two separate times – in 2007 and 2009 – said Monday’s murders were to “avenge Palestinian children” and the three French soldiers who were killed just days before were because of France’s military presence in Afghanistan.
According to the French newspaper Le Point, Merah turned to radical Islam while in prison, and French police have said that he claims to be a member of Al Qaeda.
French authorities have confirmed that Merah traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and that he was known to intelligence officials for 3 years. French Defense Minister Gerard Longeut said he did not believe the seven murders could have been stopped, “unless we turn France into a police state.”
Merah, who is a Frenchman of Algerian descent was tracked using his brother’s e-mail address, which was involved in the killing of Imad Ibn-Ziatena, a French soldier. Ziatena was selling his motorbike and was contacted via e-mail by Merah’s brother, who was apprehended by French police, eventually leading to Merah’s location in Toulouse.
Numerous reports say that Merah exchanged a pistol – the same caliber used in Monday’s killings – in return for a telephone device, after police officers were wounded while attempting to enter his apartment.