Update 12:15am: So what is taking so long? According to the Washington Post (hat tip: Challah Hu Akbar):
The authorities’ patience seemed to reflect a determination by President Nicolas Sarkozy to put the man on public trial for what were described as terrorist acts by a committed Islamist militant who had trained at a Taliban camp in Afghanistan.
Sarkozy was described as furious that such hateful crimes could be committed in France. In addition, the issues the suspect has cited are particularly sensitive as Sarkozy runs for reelection in two rounds of voting, scheduled for April 23 and May 6. The president is eager to be seen as a firm defender of security, lest any of his conservative support shift to the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen of the National Front.
Update 9:03pm More blasts heard, again intended as intimidation. Merah is suspected of being heavily armed.
Update 8:09pm France 24 reports that sounds of explosions were not the police taking steps to capture Mohammed Merah, but just "intimidation".
Update 1:45pm: According to CNN, a US mil. official says French military, not US, that sent French shooting suspect back to France from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile Drudge had a headline:
Update 12:40pm And so it begins: YnetNews reports the French prosecutor says that terrorist suspect Mohammed Merah has had mental problems since he was a boy
Update 11:38am According to LeMonde, it appears all three brothers were involved with the French jihadi attack (Hat tip Aaron Y. Zelin)
Update 10:33am Times of Israel reporting that Mohammed Merah is still holed up in his home, surrounded by police.
Update 10:02am: According to France 24, suspect has NOT been arrested, negotiations still underway. No assault has begun.
Update 10:00am Being reported by Jewish Press that Mohammed Merah is not yet in police custody.
Update 9:45am The Algemeiner reports that Mohammed Merah is in police custody.
- AFP reports Mohammed Merah was arrested in Kandahar back in 2010 for planting bombs and sentenced to 3 years--but escaped in a prison break.
- Al Arabiya reports: Fayyad decries use of Palestinian cause to justify terrorism--another case of too little too late. Does this mean the Palestinian Authority will stop inciting hatred of Israel by naming stadiums after Palestinian terrorists who murder children, stop paying stipends to terrorists in Israeli prisons and break off unity talks with terrorist group Hamas?
- Meanwhile, Merah has still not surrendered.
Update: 5:44 The report is that Merah wants to surrender "after lunch". I'd hate to think that he is stalling for time in order to set something up.
Update: 5:00am Jewish Press is reporting Mohammed Merah has another brother, besides the one who has been arrested, who is still on the loose.
Update 4:59: France 24 speculates that fact no terrorist group has stepped forward to take credit for the murders lends credence to the theory that Mohammed Merah is acting alone.
Update 4:47 Douglas Herbert, France 24 International Affairs editor: Though the suspect through a gun out the window, the French Interior Minister says he certainly has other weapons.
Update 4:45 Al Arabiya reports, according to French police, the suspect's name is Mohammed Merah, of Algerian origin
Update 4:16: France 24 reports the suspect says he will turn himself over this afternoon.(it is now 9:16am in France)
Update: France 24 has just announced that the killer has thrown out his handgun and the siege may soon be over.
Hat tip Challah Hu Akbar who pointed out France 24 as a news source, and who has been tweeting updates
France 24 has been reporting that a man claiming to be Toulouse killer called France 24 two hours before siege, making the same claims reported now, that the killings were in retaliation for killing of Palestinian children and for French actions in Afghanistan. The man on the phone said this was the only beginning.
France 24 keeps emphasizing that the expectation was that the killer was right wing extremist, not Islamist with ties to Al Qaeda. They contrasted these killing with the Norway killings, where it was first thought that the killer was Islamist and in the end he turned out to be right wing.
The man who called France 24 claiming to be Toulouse killer said the money for carrying this out came within last few weeks. He would not say whether he alone was behind the killings or if he was part of a group.
When France 24 asked caller what would take for killings to stop, he said either his death or prison where he could explain himself.
So if the Toulouse killer really is the man who called France 24, it is likely they will be able to talk him out.
In connection to the Toulouse killer, France 24 recalls early 2000's when then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon told French Jews to make Aliyah because it was too dangerous there.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Toulouse and France.