(TOULOUSE, France) -- The man believed to be behind the killings of seven people in Toulouse, France, is dead after a two-day standoff with police.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant delivered a statement early Thursday, declaring Mohammed Merah had died.
Gueant said special forces were instructed Thursday to enter his apartment -- where Merah had been holed up since the standoff began on Wednesday -- because he was "dangerous" and threatened to kill police officers.
The interior minister said authorities at first could not locate Merah, who was hiding in the bathroom and later emerged, shooting "madly at everyone." Merah then jumped out of a window to his death, weapons still in hand, according to Gueant.
Two police officers were reportedly injured in the raid, though neither critically.
The initial plan was to take 24-year-old Merah alive in order to question him about his alleged ties to al Qaeda and whether others were involved in Monday's shooting at a Jewish school that left a rabbi and three children dead, and two separate incidents last week that resulted in the deaths of three paratroopers.
But Gueant raised the possibility Wednesday night that the suspected gunman, who claimed to have been trained by al Qaeda during trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan, might kill himself rather than be taken into custody.
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