The gunman who claimed responsibility for a radical Islam-inspired killing spree in southern France has been shot in the head and killed by police in a shootout after a 32-hour siege.
Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, filmed all three of his attacks that killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said that "everything was done to try to arrest him alive." Police entered his Toulouse apartment and Merah came out of the bathroom shooting wildly and aggressively about 30 times and was shot in the head as he jumped out of the window. Merah continued to fire "until he was hit by a retaliatory shot from the RAID (elite police unit), which felled him with a bullet to the head," Molins said.
Merah had filmed all three killings, and claimed to have posted them online. Police have viewed the videos. The prosecutor said the gunman, in his first killing of a paratrooper on March 11, is heard on the video saying "You kill my brothers; I kill you."
When killing two other paratroopers four days later in the nearby town of Montauban, he cried out "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" in Arabic.
Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Merah, who claimed links to al Qaida, "came out of the bathroom, firing with extreme violence". Two police officers were wounded in the firefight.
Gueant said the suspect had told the police last night that he would not surrender and that he would kill police if they try to arrest him. That was the turning point in the decision to move in, the minister said.
Merah was wanted for the deaths of the paratroopers, the Jewish schoolchildren and the rabbi, all killed over 10 days. Another student and another paratrooper were wounded in his attacks.
Police said, during hours of negotiations yesterday when the siege first began, Merah admitted to being proud of the seven killings he carried out in three motorcycle shooting attacks around Toulouse.
Authorities said Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, championed a radical form of Islam and had been to Afghanistan and the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan, where he claimed to have received training from al Qaida.