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French Suspect Surrounded, Planned New Hit Today

24-year-old identified as Mohammad Merah
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2012 6:16 AM CDT
Updated Mar 21, 2012 10:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Conflicting reports out of Toulouse: Though USA Today reported earlier, by way of French TV, that a 24-year-old Muslim man suspected in a series of shootings had been arrested after a raid on an apartment, reports are now saying the building remains surrounded. CNN and Reuters report that some 300 police officers have ringed the building and are trying to draw Mohammad Merah out. After severing communication in late morning, he is apparently talking with police once again.

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A police rep had told the AP that police would bust their way in if he didn't turn himself in this afternoon as promised; they earlier evacuated the building. An Afghanistan prison warden tells Reuters that Merah was among those freed in a mass Taliban jail break. Another chilling revelation: Nicolas Sarkozy today told a Jewish group that the gunman "had a plan to kill again ... this morning." A police source confirmed that the suspect "told investigators this morning that he had decided to kill a soldier in Toulouse on Wednesday morning and had already identified the victim." (Read more Toulouse stories.)

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