Explosions, Gunfire Heard at French Standoff Site

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A series of loud explosions and gunfire have been heard near the apartment in the southern French city of Toulouse where an Islamic-extremists is holed up in a 32 hour standoff with police.

There was no way to know if the shooting was coming from the special police to intimidate the suspect or in an exchange volley with him.

The man has boasted of killing seven French citizens.

France's interior minister says Mohamed Merah wants to "die with weapons in his hands."

There are suspicions that the 24-year-old gunman may have already committed suicide. The minister says he's not been heard from since last night, but authorities are still hoping to take him alive.

Elite police squads cut off electricity and natural gas into the building and set off sporadic blasts overnight - some that blew off the apartment's shutters. Officials said it was a tactic aimed to pressure Merah to give up.

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