French Interior Minister: School Shooting Suspect to Surrender

Posted March 21st, 2012 at 3:50 am (UTC-5)
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Funerals for the four victims of Monday's Jewish school shootings are under way in Jerusalem even as French police surround the house in Toulouse where their alleged killer is holed up.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who is outside the house, says the alleged gunman plans to give himself up later Wednesday. Gueant says police are determined to take him alive.

Gueant says the suspect claims he belongs to al-Qaida, and that he wanted to avenge Palestinian children killed in the Middle East. Police arrested his brother shortly after raiding the house.

The man is accused of murdering a rabbi and three children – ages four, five, and seven – at a Jewish school in Toulouse before driving off on a motorcycle. The bodies of the victims, who all had dual French and Israeli citizenship, were flown to Israel for burial.

The cold-blooded attack stunned and outraged France and has been condemned by world leaders.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and opposition presidential candidates Francois Hollande and Marine Le Pen, have temporarily suspended their election campaigns out of respect for the victims.

French police say the alleged shooter used the same gun to kill three French soldiers of African and French Caribbean origin last week in Toulouse and a nearby town.