Live updates from the events in Toulouse: Hundreds of heavily armed police cordoned off streets around apartment building of 24-year-old suspect Mohamed Merah; France Interior Minister says unsure if suspect still alive.
French police tried to flush out a 24-year-old gunman suspected of killing seven people in the name of al Qaeda, with explosions and gunfire heard outside his apartment on the second day of a siege in the southern French city of Toulouse.
Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said that he was not sure if Mohamed Merah was still alive, says Haaretz.
French authorities - like others in Europe - have long been concerned about "lone-wolf" attacks by young, Internet-savvy militants who self-radicalize online since they are harder to find and track. Still, it was the first time a radical Islamic motive has been ascribed to killings in France in years.
Merah espoused a radical brand of Islam and had been to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region twice and to the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan for training, Molins said.
He said the suspect had plans to kill another soldier, prompting the police raid.
The standoff began after a police attempt at around 3 a.m. Wednesday to detain Merah erupted into a firefight. Two police were wounded, triggering on-and-off negotiations with the suspect that lasted into the night, according to CBS News.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the acts, saying yesterday that, it's time for "criminals to stop exploiting the name of Palestine through their terrorist actions."
The four victims of the school shooting were buried in Israel yesterday, with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe attending the ceremonies. U.S. President Barack Obama called Sarkozy yesterday with condolences, an administration official said on condition of anonymity.
Both Sarkozy and Hollande attended the funeral yesterday of the three paratroopers killed in shootings in Toulouse and Montauban, 30 kilometers away, in southwestern France.
"Their death is not the one that they had prepared for," Sarkozy said. "It was not a death on a battlefield, it was a terrorist execution. The man, the killer, hasn't been able to crack our national unity", informs Bloomberg.
After it turned out that Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov included the Fonbet betting company in the list of backbone enterprises that can count on state support, everyone started talking about these bookmakers.