Toulouse stand-off continues 30 hours later

By Jennifer Lipman, March 22, 2012

More than a day after French police surrounded a house in Toulouse the fate of the man suspected of up to seven murders is unknown.

Gunman Mohammed Merah may not still be alive, said Claude Gueant, France's Interior Minister. Police are understood to have entered the building, although Mr Gueant did not confirm that.

Merah has not contacted police since Wednesday evening, despite a series of explosions throughout the night and into the morning understood to be intended to pressure him to come out.

"It's rather strange that he never reacted" to the detonation," said Mr Gueant, fuelling speculation that Merah is no longer alive. However Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told a radio programme that police wanted to capture him alive "so he can be tried and so the families can mourn properly".

Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian descent who has Islamist links, is suspected of murdering a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school on Monday, as well as three paratroopers.

Last updated: 11:17am, March 22 2012