|The raid came amid a massive manhunt for the killer of the shooting [EPA]|
Police in the French city of Toulouse have surrounded a man suspected to be behind Monday's killing of four people outside a Jewish school and that of three soldiers a few days earlier.
Officials said the mother of the 24-year-old suspect had at arrived at the scene, where the suspect is holed up inside a five-storey house, to negotiate his surrender.
Gunshots were heard after the operation began at 03.00 (02.00GMT) on Wednesday.Three policemen were reportedly injured in the shootout after the suspect shot through the door.
Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Toulouse, said the raid "was ongoing".
|Funerals of the rabbi and three children killed in Monday's attack are due in Jerusalem in coming hours [Reuters]|
"The French interior minister has arrived on the scene to oversee the operation - this is very much a developing situation at the moment and we are only getting very limited details," she said.
Speaking to journalists in Toulouse, Claude Gueant, the French interior minister, said the suspect is a French man and and "he belongs to al-Qaida."
He said the suspect wanted to "take revenge for Palestinian children" killed in the Middle East, and was angry at the French military for its operations abroad.
Gueant added the man's brother was arrested and he was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The raid came as bodies of three children and a rabbi gunned down in southern France arrived in Israel after it was flown by Israeli El Al airlines.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe along with 50 relatives and friends of the victims accompanied the bodies as they were flown home.
Jonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old Frenchman, his two sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4 as well as seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego will be buried later on Wednesday morning at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem, according to the Israeli embassy in France.
President Nicolas Sarkozy paid silent homage to the victims on Tuesday at a school in Paris close to the city's Holocaust memorial, and afterwards admitted that authorities had as yet no clue as to the identity of the killer.
"Anti-Semitism is obvious. The Jewish school attack was an anti-Semitic crime," Sarkozy told reporters at the Paris school after meeting children.
Attack on soldiers
French investigators fear the same gunman also killed three soldiers in two recent separate attacks and may strike again.
The soldiers were French citizens of North African origin, while another who was critically wounded in the attack was black and from the French West Indies.
French police on Monday launched a huge manhunt after the shooting and the region was put on its highest level of security alert.
More than 100 officers were dispatched to the area to search for the gunman, who is also a prime suspect in the killing of three soldiers in two separate shootings last week.
Police said that the same weapon and the same stolen scooter appeared to have been used in all three attacks.
All three attacks were carried out by the rider using a .45-calibre weapon, who witnesses described as calmly shooting his victims.
The gunman may also have recorded the attack with an extreme sports video camera strapped to his chest, the French interior minister said.
"A witness saw a small video camera around the killer's neck," Gueant told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
"It's a video camera worn in a harness on the chest and indeed he was seen, a witness said so, with this device," Gueant said. "I don't know if he filmed everything."
All seven people slain in three attacks were shot in the head at point blank range, the prosecutor leading the investigation said on Tuesday.
Separatly, a package bomb exploded at the Indonesian embassy in Paris on Wednesday, causing minor damage but no injuries, police said.
"We received information at 5 am Paris time that there was a bomb," Teuku Faizasyah, spokesman for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said. "We're still looking for clarity whether we are really a target or not."