Mohamed Merah, the French terrorist who claimed to belong to Al Qaeda and who murdered in cold blood French soldiers as well as Jewish people, including 3 children in front of a school, is dead.
It has been confirmed by the French presidential Elysee Palace.
I'll add additional information as it comes.
After over 32 hours of a stalemate, with the accused being barricaded in his flat surrounded by French police, the order was finally given to assault the flat. The accused terrorist resisted the attack and was killed in the process.
At first, it was unclear whether Merah was still alive or not. Throughout the long night, the police had been detonating loud explosive charges in order to keep awake the wanted presumed terrorist. However, Merah had stopped giving indications that he was still alive late in the previous evening. He had not responded to the police provocation, leading the police administration that he had committed suicide. However, during previous negotiations, he had clearly said he wanted preferred to "live and kill" or, if it came down to it, "die fighting" rather than finish his own life by himself.
The French government had wanted to capture him alive in order to bring him to justice. The police had been playing a restrained strategy in order to wear him down and cool down his aggressive instinct.
However, under pressure to finish the job (as there was no hostage held), and especially since throughout the night Merah had stayed quiet, the police cautiously entered the flat. All rooms appeared to be clear but for the bathroom from which the heavily armed terrorist erupted, shooting at the police while attempting to escape through the window. Merah was soon lying dead on the street, in front of his apartment building. (He either lived on the 1st, or 2nd floor - I have read contradictory information).
3 police officers got shot during the final push, one of whom is critically wounded. 3 more police officers had already been wounded during the initial assault attempt, 32 hours earlier.
This whole tragedy occurs in the context of the upcoming French presidential elections, the first round of which will take place one month from now. Already, extreme right candidate Marine Lepen is using this as an opportunity to boost her campaign, calling for a referendum to restore the Death Penalty. It is as yet unclear how much president Nicolas Sarkozy himself, who is campaigning for a second term and who had been trailing badly in the polls, will benefit from the fact that the alleged terrorist has been found, and ultimately killed.
4:35 AM PT: The exact circumstances of Merah's death are not yet confirmed: whether he was shot dead by the police or if he died because of his jump from the window of his 2nd floor apartment.
7:09 AM PT: Merah was shot in the head by the police in self defence.