French police shot dead Thursday a self-declared Al-Qaeda militant wanted for a series of killings of soldiers and Jews, ending a tense 32-hour siege in the south of France.
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A French member of the RAID special police forces unit shakes hands with a paratrooper after the assault on the besieged flat of Mohamed Merah in Toulouse, southwestern France. Picture: AFP / REMY GABALDA
French police kill terrorist, end siege
TOULOUSE, France, AFP : French police shot dead Thursday a self-declared Al-Qaeda militant wanted for a series of killings of soldiers and Jews, ending a tense 32-hour siege in the south of France.
The seven killings shocked France, home to western Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim minorities, and raised questions about intolerance and security failures in the midst of a hard-fought presidential election campaign.
Mohamed Merah, who admitted shooting dead three soldiers and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school, also tried to shoot his way out of the siege in Toulouse after police from the elite RAID force entered his flat.
Police said the 23-year-old burst out of the bathroom, opening fire on officers before jumping out the window of his first-floor apartment, still firing as he fell, in a desperate bid to escape.
"He was killed by RAID shooters while trying to escape," a police source told AFP. "He was dead by the time he hit the ground."
Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Merah was "shooting very violently" when he emerged from the bathroom.
"A RAID officer who is used to this kind of thing told me that he had never seen such a violent assault," Gueant said.
"RAID officers of course tried to protect themselves, to return fire, and then in the end, Mohamed Merah jumped out of the window with a gun in his hand, continuing to fire. He was found dead on the ground," he said.
Around 300 bullets were fired during the shootout, police sources said.
French policemen stand guard near the apartment block where Mohamed Merah was holed up in Toulouse (AFP, Pascal Pavani)
Merah, who told authorities he had been trained by Al-Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, had previously fought off repeated attempts to storm his apartment after he was tracked down early Wednesday.
President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed after the end of the siege to crack down on extremism, saying he wanted legal action against people who regularly consult jihadist websites or travel abroad for indoctrination.
France's chief anti-terror prosecutor, Francois Molins, had earlier described Merah as a cold-blooded killer with no remorse.
"He expressed no regret apart from not having had enough time to kill more victims," Molins told reporters on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the prosecutor confirmed that Merah had filmed all of the killings with a camera attached to a chest harness, and that officers had viewed the footage and confirmed it recorded the crimes.
Molins said Merah had taken responsibility for the shootings, claiming to be avenging Palestinian deaths and opposing the French military's involvement in Afghanistan and France's ban on full-face veils.
On Wednesday, the Jewish victims of the attacks were buried in Jerusalem and two of the soldiers were laid to rest, one in France and one in Morocco.
paratroopers – soldiers trained to be dropped from an aircraft with a parachute พลร่ม, ทหารพลร่ม
assault – an attack by the armed forces or security forces การจู่โจม
besiege – to surround a place and prevent people or supplies from getting in or out ห้อมล้อม ล้อมปิด
flat – a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building แฟลต, ห้องชุด
terrorist – of someone who uses violence in order to achieve political aims ผู้ก่อการร้าย
tense – feeling nervous or worried เครียด
siege – a situation in which the police surround a building where people are living or hiding, in order to make them come out การโอบล้อม
self-declared – saying something is true about yourself
militant – someone who uses violent methods to achieve something นักรบ
shock – to surprise, or frighten someone ทำให้ตกใจ, ทำให้สั่นสะเทือน
minority – of a part of a population that is different in race, religion or culture form most of the population ชนกลุ่มน้อย
intolerance – not willing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own การไม่ยอมรับความคิดที่แตกต่างไป, ความไม่อดทน
security – protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย
in the midst of – in the middle of ท่ามกลาง
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
elite – of a highly trained group ซึ่งดีที่สุด, ยอดเยี่ยมที่สุด
burst out – วิ่งออกมา, จู่โจม – to suddenly come out
desperate – in an extreme or worried way อย่างเต็มที่
bid – an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
violent – involving the use of physical force, with the intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people รุนแรง
emerge – to come out of ออกจาก
bullet – a small, metal object that is shot from a gun กระสุนปืน
hole up – to hide in a place ซ่อนตัว
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
storm – to use force to enter a place and take control of it บุกกระหน่ำ
track down – to try to follow and find someone or something ตามรอย
vow – to make a formal and serious promise to do something สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
crack down on – to start dealing with someone or something much more strictly จัดการ, ลงมือปราบปราม
extremism – when someone has beliefs which most people think are unreasonable and unacceptable การนิยมวิธีการที่รุนแรง
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
jihadist – a fighter in a jihad, a holy war fought by Muslims to defend Islam สงครามศักดิ์สิทธิ์
indoctrination – forcing/persuading somebody to accept a particular belief or set of beliefs and not allow them to consider any others การสั่งสอน,การอบรม,การปลูกฝัง
prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ
cold-blooded – deliberately cruel and showing no emotion เลือดเย็น
remorse – a feeling of being sad or guilty for having done something wrong สำนึกผิด
regret – a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better ความโทมนัส,ความเสียใจ,ความเศร้าโศก
victim – someone who has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a crime เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
reporter – someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว
chest – the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
harness – a set of strips of leather, etc. for fastening something to a person's body or to keep them from moving off or falling เครื่องบังเหียน
footage – film or video of a particular subject or event ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
take responsibility – to say or admit you are the cause of something, usually something bad (and, often, to do what needs to be done to correct the situation) แสดงความรับผิดชอบ
claim – to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it อ้าง
avenge – to punish or hurt somebody in return for something bad or wrong that they have done to you, your family or friends แก้เผ็ด, แก้แค้น
involvement – the act or process of taking part in something การเกี่ยวข้อง
ban – an official statement ordering people not to do something ห้าม
veil – a covering of very thin transparent material worn, especially by women, to protect or hide the face ผ้าคลุมหน้า
bury – to put a dead person’s body into the ground during a funeral ceremony ฝังศพ