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The hostage-taker said he wanted the elite RAID national police force to come negotiate with him, police said. The RAID police force led negotiations and a 32-hour standoff with Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, in his Toulouse apartment. Merah was shot in the head in a gunfight at the end of the standoff.

French authorities described Merah as an Islamic radical who had trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

French intelligence officials said at the time that they found no operational ties between Merah and al Qaeda, despite his claim.

His brother is in custody after being handed preliminary charges of complicity to plotting the killings at the Jewish school in Toulouse and of paratroopers in Toulouse and nearby Montauban.

Elaine Ganley, Greg Keller and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.