The call to the France 24 news channel came just two hours before police cornered a suspect who made exactly the same claims as the caller – that he was linked to Al-Qaeda and his crimes were revenge for Palestinian deaths.
“He said he was affiliated with Al-Qaeda and that it was only the beginning … that everything was filmed … and that it would be on the web shortly,” the journalist who took the call at France 24 told AFP.
On Monday, officials said witnesses to a deadly attack on a Jewish school in which a religious studies teacher and three children were killed saw the gunman wearing a video camera in a harness on his chest.
“Either I will go prison with my head held high or I will die with a smile,” the caller to France 24 said, according to journalist Ebba Kalondo.
He also said he wanted to take revenge for the ban on wearing the full Islamic veil in public in France and for France’s participation in the war in Afghanistan, she said.
Officials said that the man holed up in the Toulouse flat had also said he had acted to punish France for its foreign military interventions.
The call came at midnight local time on Tuesday, just two hours before police special forces in the southwestern city of Toulouse surrounded an apartment block where a suspected Islamist militant was holed up.
Officials said suspect Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian descent who has visited Afghanistan and Pakistan, bragged of being in Al-Qaeda and said he acted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children.
Police sources said investigators were taking the 11-minute call to France 24 seriously, but could not confirm it was the same man.
The operation in Toulouse was launched after three attacks in the past nine days in which a scooter-riding killer gunned down seven people, including three Jewish children and three off-duty soldiers.