French police stepped up pressure today on a besieged al-Qaeda militant who boasted of having "brought France to its knees" with a wave of brutal attacks that left seven dead.
Police on Thursday are using used their advantages - numbers, firepower and psychological pressure - in hopes of wearing down 24-year-old suspect Mohamed Merah, who is in an apartment in the southwestern French city.
The deputy mayor of Toulouse had said an assault on the building had begun - a claim then denied by interior ministry official Pierre-Henry Brandet.
Mr Brandet said: "There were moves to intimidate the gunman who seems to have changed his mind and does not want to surrender. There is no assault."
Explosions rocked the district of the south-western city and orange flashes lit up the sky.