Terror suspect Mohamed Merah, who is believed responsible for the killings of seven people in recent days, is dead, following a prolonged siege of his apartment in Toulouse. French Interior Minister Claude Guéant confirmed the death around noon on Thursday.
Police raided the building mid-morning Thursday after a 30-hour standoff. Reuters reported that gunfire rang out for four minutes and explosions were heard during the raid.
There had been no new signs of life since late in the night, and Interior Minister Guéant had speculated earlier on Thursday that the man, who had been holed up in his apartment for more than 24 hours, might be dead. Guéant told French radio station RTL he "hoped" that 23-year-old Mohamed Merah was still alive. But he said there had been no further contact during the night with the man. The suspected terrorist, a French citizen of Algerian decent, didn't respond to several explosions during the night. Guéant had called the lack of reaction "weird."
The suspect had earlier said he wanted "to die weapons in hand". Two shots were fired in the night, but it was unclear where they originated. Reporters also confirmed that shots had been heard at 2 a.m. local time.