The main suspect in the shooting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse reportedly was arrested in France following a 12-hour standoff with police.
Wednesday’s arrest of Mohammed Merah, a 24-year-old French national of Algerian descent who claims ties to al-Qaida, came just hours after thousands attended the funeral in Jerusalem of the attack’s four victims.
Merah was arrested at his home in Toulouse following the standoff, according to French television. Merah reportedly has been known to French intelligence for many years.
French police surrounded Merah’s home in the morning. Merah, in contact with the police, reportedly had agreed to turn himself later in the day before abruptly cutting off communication with police. The suspect’s brother, and possibly other siblings, reportedly had been arrested, and two police officers were injured in a shootout outside the home, according to reports.
The Ozar Hatorah school reopened Wednesday for the first time since the attack, in which a man riding a motorbike opened fire Monday outside the school where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day.
Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, were killed in the attack.
Thousands attended the funeral of the victims on Wednesday morning at Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery.
“Your grief, your pain is ours too,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at the funeral. “All of France is in shock.”
On Tuesday, three former French soldiers accused of having neo-Nazi ties who had been suspected of possible involvement in the shooting attack were questioned and released by French police.
Forensic tests found that the weapon used in the attack at the school was the same one used in a pair of fatal shooting attacks last week targeting off-duty French soldiers in and near Toulouse. The shootings, which also were committed by a gunman on a motorbike, left three soldiers dead and another seriously wounded. The soldiers who were shot were of North African or Caribbean background.