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October 29, 2020
WORLD

Toulouse killings: Main suspect’s arrest denied

Funerals of the three children and a teacher shot dead by a gunman have been held in Jerusalem.

France’s interior minister has denied reports that security forces have arrested the main suspect in the recent spate of shootings around Toulouse. Claude Gueant said the arrest had not yet taken place, BBC informs.BFM TV had reported that the suspect, named earlier as Mohammed Merah, 23, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, was detained inside a block of flats that has been under siege all morning.Police surrounded Merah’s block of flats after two officers were shot at when they tried to get into his flat. He is suspected of attacking a Jewish school and carrying out two attacks on soldiers, killing seven people in all. The suspect has said he belonged to al-Qaeda and acted to “avenge Palestinian children”.The standoff began Wednesday morning just after 3 a.m. local time in the quiet residential Côte Pavée neighborhood of Toulouse. A flurry of shots was fired in bursts in the early hours of the morning. Three police officers were injured, two shot in the knee and one in the shoulder. Merah was arrested in Afghanistan in 2007 for planting bombs and sentenced to three years in prison, but that he escaped during a June 2008 Taliban commando raid that saw 1,000 prisoners freed. In the night, he reached out by telephone to a France 24 journalist, reportedly telling her he filmed all seven killings and that videos will be posted on the Internet, thedailybeast further reports.Meanwhile, the funerals of the three children and a teacher shot dead by a gunman in Toulouse have been held in Jerusalem. At least 2,000 mourners went to the hilltop Givat Shaul cemetery to pay their respects.They all had dual French and Israeli citizenship and the bodies were flown to Israel for burial at the families’ request. The children and the rabbi were killed on Monday morning as they arrived at the Ozar Hatorah school.

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