Molins said Merah told investigators where to find the bag with the videos of the slayings, caught by a camera that had been strapped to his chest and given to someone else to keep.
After the standoff ended, Sarkozy announced tough new measures to combat terrorism. He said anyone who regularly visits “websites which support terrorism or call for hate or violence will be punished by the law.” He also promised a crackdown on anyone who goes abroad “for the purposes of indoctrination in terrorist ideology.”
The French president also appealed to citizens not to confuse violence with France’s estimated 5 million Muslims.
“Our Muslim compatriots had nothing to do with the crazy motive of a terrorist,” Sarkozy said, noting that Muslim paratroopers were among those killed by the radical.
In Toulouse, the state prosecutor said off-and-on negotiations Wednesday with the suspect — all recorded by authorities — broke down again at night. Merah, after initially saying he would surrender, later said he would resist, and that it would be either them or him.
“If it’s me, who cares? I’ll go to paradise,” the prosecutor quoted Merah as saying.
Merah was tracked down by more than 200 special investigators after the Monday attack on a Jewish school in northern Toulouse.
The prosecutor said two major breaks in the case led them to Merah: his mother’s computer, which was used by Merah to respond to an online ad by a paratrooper trying to sell his scooter. The soldier became Merah’s first victim. Authorities also found a Yamaha motorcycle shop where Merah suspiciously sought information about how to deactivate a GPS tracker.
Molins said Merah had plans to kill another soldier, which prompted the first police raid at around 3 a.m. Wednesday. After that erupted into a firefight, wounding two police, the standoff dragged on and on, with sporadic negotiations.
Angela Charlton and Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report.