March 21 - Police continue negotiations with Toulouse shooting suspect as the French president calls for the nation to remain united. Nick Rowlands reports.
Police in Toulouse continue to negotiate with a gunman suspected of killing three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school on Monday. The 24-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin has been identified as Mohamed Merah, and is holed up in a Toulouse apartment that has been cordoned off by police. One man said his son heard gunshots coming from the flat below early in the morning. A police spokesman said a special forces operation began at 3 am, that three policemen have been slightly injured, and that negotiations are underway to end the incident without further bloodshed. Speaking from Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had brought together representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities and that the country must remain united. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY SAYING: "I am saying it to the national community, to the entire nation. We must be united. We must give in neither to discrimination nor revenge. Up against such an event, France can only be strong if there is national unity. We owe it to the victims of the cold blooded assassinations. We owe it to our country. Thank you." Authorities believe the gunman in the school shooting was the same person responsible for killing three soldiers of North African origin in two separate attacks last week. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.