Update, Thursday, 8:00 a.m.: The shooting suspect is dead after a 31-hour standoff. Read the story here.
Elite French police remain in an intense standoff with the suspect of a shooting spree that killed three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi over the past eight days, The Washington Post’s Ed Cody reports.
Police negotiated with the suspect, an Islamic militant identified as Mohammed Merah, 24, throughout the early morning. During that time, Merah told police negotiators that took action to “avenge Palestinian children” and protest France’s role in the Afghanistan war. He also said he was connected to al-Qaeda.
Later Wednesday, police exchanged gunfire with Merah, who threw a pistol out of the window, but told negotiators he still had assault rifles and pistols inside the apartment. Two policeman were wounded in an initial exchange of fire.
In video from the scene, Sky News reporter Mark Stone explains that no one expected the shooter would be found in this quiet corner of Toulouse:
Stone shared an image of the police operation:
And of the reaction of those impacted by the shooting:
Martin Geissler, a Europe Correspondent for British network ITV News, also shared reports from the ground:
Friend of #Toulouse suspect arrives at scene saying "I'm astonished, I've known him for years, can't believe he'd do this"— martin geissler (@mmgeissler) March 21, 2012
CBS News has video of the standoff:
As the standoff continued, thousands of mourners attended the funeral in Jerusalem of the four victims in the shooting at a Toulouse Jewish school earlier this week, Israeli news site Haaretz reports.