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Paris prosecutor says Toulous killer shot dead in clashes with police

03-23-2012 08:24 BJT

PARIS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Paris Chief Prosecutor Francois Molins on Friday afternoon told a press conference that the al-Qaeda-linked killer was shot dead in the clashes with police.

At the press conference which came just hours after the death of the 24-year-old suspect Mohamed Merah, the chief prosecutor disclosed more detailed infirmations about the police raid on the crime.

Molins said police were given instructions to get the killer alive, but as he jumped from the window trying to escape in the clashes, he was shot on the head and dead on the ground, wearing a bullet proof vest.

"Everything was done to arrest him alive. It's precisely because everything was done that the operation lasted for so long at the risk of the police officers," the prosecutor explained.

Molins said the terrorist killer took footage of all three shootings that he had made during which he was allegedly responsible for the death of three French paratroopers of ethnic minority and four others, including three Jewish children and a rabbi in the last two weeks in the southern French cities of Toulouse and Montauban. The killer claimed that he had uploaded the video to website without giving any clues of the web address.

Molins said Merah got radicalized during a spell in prison. He admitted that "Merah did not attract any attention from intelligence services after returning from Afghanistan and Pakistan" because "thousands of people go to this region every year."

The chief prosecutor said an investigation is underway to see if Merah had any accomplices.

Earlier at noon, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant confirmed that the suspect of an al-Qaeda-linked killing spree in southern France was dead after exchanging fire with the police.

The French young man of Algerian origin, was hiding in the bathroom when French police stormed at around 11:00 a.m. local time the apartment where he had been holed up for 32 hours.

"Mohammed Merah then jumped out the window with a gun in his hand continuing to shoot. He was found dead on the ground," the minister said, adding that "during the last conversation at 22:45 he told us he has change his attitude and don't fear the death."

The suspect firstly showed up in a telephone conversation at midnight to the channel France24 senior producer Ebba Kalondo at the newsroom, to whom at 1:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday he claimed responsibility for the Toulouse and Montauban killings, saying "the reasons behind the killings were two folds, to protest against the French law enacted last year that banned the wearing of the Muslim veil and also to protest against French military participation in the Afghanistan campaign," Kalondo told hostess in a interview with France24.

Kalondo said the conversation came two hours before the French police besieged his residence building in the north of Toulous.

Merah had initially offered to give himself up to the police, but said later that he would "die with weapons in hand."

France's anti-terrorist police had been negotiating with Merah but he kept silent since 22:45 last night and had given no sign of contact any more.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the young gunman who planned to kill two other policemen and a soldier "boasts that he has brought France to its knees" and has no regrets "except not having more time to kill more people."

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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