The standoff between French police and a suspected serial killer is into its second day.

Last night, explosions and gunshots were also heard outside Mohamed Merah's apartment in Toulouse where he's barricaded himself in. Merah is suspected to have killed 7 people in three separate attacks in southwest France, all in the name of al-Qaeda. Police confirm he's confessed to negotiators and that he now wants to 'die with weapons in his hands'

This is what one of Merah's neighbours, Martin Zacherie, had to say when a reporter asked him what the suspect was like: "He was a simple guy, he was normal. I don't suspect anything. Besides, he is also good looking, the female neighbours were talking about him. He was ok, he was appreciated. He would say Hello, he spoke to everybody, he would ask you how you are"

This is amateur footage from a nearby flat showing police officers as they tried to storm his apartment yesterday morning. He fired shots at them, so this morning's blasts indicate a distinct change of tactics. A spokesperson for the interior ministry said they were designed to intimidate Merah, but as yet that hasn't worked. There's still a heavy police presence outside the building as the siege goes on.