Mohammed Merah, the gunman wanted in the killings of three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French soldiers, was found dead Thursday morning inside the apartment in Toulouse where he had begun a standoff with police a day earlier, local media cited police officials as saying.

Three police officers were wounded during the 30-hour siege, one in serious condition, according to the Toulouse daily La Depeche du Midi.

Wednesday night, police set off explosions at the block of flats where Merah, self-described sympathizer of al Qaeda, was holed up, but the standoff continued into Thursday morning.

Three loud blasts were heard at the site just before midnight local time, which blew open the door of the apartment where Mohamed Merah, 24, has been holed up since before dawn Wednesday, Israel's Ynet News reported, citing a police source.

Reuters also cited a police source as saying the blasts blew open the door of Merah's apartment.

NPR reported that police cut off electricity to the area, plunging the neighborhood into darkness, in a bid to pressure Merah into giving up, as he had promised earlier.

These were moves to intimidate the gunman who seems to have changed his mind and does not want to surrender, police spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told Reuters.

Another explosion and several gunshots were heard in the early hours of Thursday morning.

An Interior Ministry official told the Associated Press the suspect had gone back on a previous pledge to turn himself in - and that police blew up the shutters outside the apartment window to pressure him to surrender.

About two hours later new blasts and a burst of gunfire were heard, though officials said no full-out assault was under way. It's not as simple as that. We are waiting, the Toulouse prosecutor, Michel Valet, told the AP.

Police had been trying to get Merah to turn himself over after he fired through the door at them while they tried to storm his apartment in the suburbs of Toulouse in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The shooter has been bottled up by France's elite RAID commandos since 3 a.m. (10 p.m. EDT) inside a five-story building in a suburb of Toulouse - a drama that has gripped France a few weeks ahead of a close-fought presidential election.

Police reinforcements had arrived at the scene at around 10 p.m. (5 p.m. EDT) and authorities switched off street lights in the street, signaling that action would begin soon.

This will not last for days, because of physical and mental fatigue. All the experience with crazed gunmen like this is that they stop at some point, Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said on TF1 television on Wednesday.

What we want is to capture him alive, so that we can bring him to justice, know his motivations and hopefully find out who were his accomplices, if there were any, he added.

There were no sounds suggesting an exchange of fire following the blasts. Merah was thought to be armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Mini-Uzi submachine pistol and a collection of handguns.

Street lighting in the area was turned off earlier as officers continued to surround the apartment block.

Authorities told the Associated Press the shooter, a French citizen of Algerian descent, had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he claimed to have received training from al Qaeda.

They said he told negotiators he killed a rabbi and three young children at a Jewish school on Monday and three French paratroopers last week to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest the French army's involvement in Afghanistan, as well as a government ban last year on face-covering Islamic veils.

He has no regrets, except not having more time to kill more people and he boasts that he has brought France to its knees, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference.