- (Photo: REUTERS/Jean-Philippe Arles)
Mohamed Merah, the gunman who terrorized France and killed seven innocent victims, is dead. Reports state that after a standoff with police, and promising to turn himself in, Merah jumped from a window amid gunfire.
It was a tense standoff between French officials and Merah, who was accused of killing seven French civilians, including three children. Merah had promised to turn himself in to authorities yesterday, after they surrounded his home and arrested his girlfriend and brother in connection with Islamic terrorist groups.
However, things changed drastically when Merah decided to jump from a window in the home; police had no choice but to fire upon Merah.
"At the moment when a video probe was sent into the bathroom, the killer came out of the bathroom, firing with extreme violence," Interior Minister Claude Gueant told Reuters.
"In the end, Mohamed Merah jumped from the window with his gun in his hand, continuing to fire. He was found dead on the ground." Reuters is also reporting that during the standoff, three officers were wounded; one as he approached Merah's home, and two more as he fired while jumping.
Merah had said that the killings of three French soldiers, one Rabbi, and three Jewish children were retaliation for Palestinian deaths.
"He claims to be a mujahedeen and to belong to al-Qaida," Gueant explained yesterday. "He wanted revenge for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions."
The death comes as a relief to many in France as it was revealed by France 24 news that Merah planned to carry out similar attacks in Toulouse, Paris, Marseille and Lyon. He also told France 24 that there were only two ways he would cease killing citizens: "prison, where he could hold his head up high," or death.