Toulouse gun suspect under siege

Police hunting a gunman suspected of killing seven people in southern France are laying siege to a flat in Toulouse.

The man, named as Mohammed Merah, 24, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, has said he belongs to al-Qaeda and acted to “avenge Palestinian children”.

Police are negotiating with the man, who is still said to be armed but says he may give himself up this afternoon.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the man had been tracked by French intelligence for “several years”.

The brother of the suspect has been arrested in another part of Toulouse, with several other relatives also reported detained.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made a televised address, paying tribute to the security forces who are carrying out the operation and saying that terrorism “will never be able to fracture our national community”.


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