French suspect plans discreet surrender

2012-03-21 22:11

Toulouse - The French interior minister says a holed-up suspect wanted for shooting seven people dead plans to turn himself in to French police surrounding him at night "to be more discreet."

Claude Gueant told France-2 TV that the suspect, Mohamed Merah, appeared to have acted alone in the killings - but also claimed to authorities that he met al-Qaeda "chiefs" while travelling in Pakistan last year.

As night fell in France, the standoff moved into its 17th hour. Three police were wounded as they tried to arrest the 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent during a raid at about 03:00.

Prosecutors have said Merah was a self-taught radical Salafi who had been to Afghanistan twice and had trained in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan.