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Image: Pascal Parrot for Reuters.

A 23-year-old gunman who said al Qaeda inspired him to kill seven people in France died in a hail of bullets on Thursday as he scrambled out of a ground-floor window during a gunbattle with elite police commandos.

Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, died from gunshot wounds at the end of a 30-hour standoff with police at his apartment in southern France and after confessing to killing three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi.

He was firing at police as he jumped out of the window, Interior Minister Claude Gueant told reporters near the five-storey building, in a suburb of the southern city of Toulouse.

Source: John Irish and Nicholas Vinocur for Euro News.

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