|Page (1) of 1 - 03/20/12||email article||print page|
French police raid under way at house of suspect in Jewish school, paratrooper shootings
TOULOUSE, France (AP) ' French police exchanged fire and were negotiating Wednesday with a gunman who claims connections to al-Qaida and is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said three police officers have been injured in the raid on a house in the southern city of Toulouse.
The suspect is 24 years old, of French nationality and says that "he belongs to al-Qaida," Gueant told reporters at the scene. He said the suspect "wants to take revenge for Palestinian children" killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad.
The man was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gueant said.
The man's brother was arrested, Gueant said.
Authorities have been conducting a massive manhunt across a swath of southern France after seven people were killed in three attacks over the past several days, and France's terror alert level was raised to its highest level ever in the region.
A French paratrooper was killed in Toulouse on March 11, two other paratroopers were killed and one injured on Thursday in the nearby town of Montauban, and three children and a rabbi were killed in a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday.
Police arrived overnight Wednesday to raid the house in Toulouse, near the site of the first killing.
"When they arrived ... the wanted individual shot at the door," Gueant said.
One officer was injured in the knee and another officer lightly injured in ensuing exchanges of fire, Gueant said.
Officers brought the suspect's mother to the scene and tried to get her to help negotiate, but she refused, saying "she had little influence on him," Gueant said.