4 dead in shooting at Jewish school in France (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER 03/19/12)
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A gunman opened fire at a crowd of parents and children outside a
Jewish school in Toulouse, France on Monday morning, killing four
Eyewitnesses said the unknown assailant drove up to the Ozar Hatorah
school´s entrance on a black scooter around 8:00 AM and fired at the
gatherers with a pistol.
Yonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher from Jerusalem; his two
children Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3; and the 8-year-old daughter of the
school´s principle died in the attack and several others were
"I saw two people dead in front of the school, an adult and a
child... Inside, it was a vision of horror, the bodies of two small
children," a distraught father whose child attends the school told
"I did not find my son, apparently he fled when he saw what happened.
How can they attack something as sacred as a school, attack children
only sixty centimeters tall?"
Police shut the city down looking for the gunman who fled the scene
of the crime.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant ordered increased security at
Jewish schools throughout the country and President Nicolas Sarkozy
was en route to the southern French city to overlook the police
Gil Taieb, a vice president of the CRIF, France´s Jewish umbrella
group, told The Jerusalem Post he had no doubt the attack was a hate
"For someone to locate this school in a place like Toulouse means he
knew what he was doing," Taieb said. "He went there to kill Jews."
Taieb said the community was in a state of shock.
"There are occasional anti-Semitic attacks but they are small,
nothing like this," he said. "We haven´t had something like this in
at least ten years."
The attack on the Jewish school may be linked to two other mysterious
shootings that have taken place in southern France over the past
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said there were striking
similarities between the shooting at the Jewish school Monday and the
killing of three soldiers earlier this month in two separate
"We are struck by the similarities between the modus operandi of
today´s drama and those last week even if we have to wait to have
more elements from the police to confirm this hypothesis," Sarkozy
Speaking from Toulouse, he said that one of the soldiers killed in
the earlier incidents had been of Caribbean origin and the other two
Last week an off duty French soldier was shot dead by a motorcyclist
On Thursday three French soldiers in uniform were shot by an unknown
man at a shopping mall in Montauban, 50 kilometers north of Toulouse.
Two of them later died of their wounds.
French police said similar ammunition was used in both shootings.
Some 500,000 Jews live in France, which has the world´s third largest
Rabbi Avraham Weill, the chief rabbi of Toulouse, said there was no
warning that the community, which numbers about 20,000, might be
"There was nothing, no phone call, no warning, " he said over the
phone from France.
Weill said his top priority was to comfort the families of the
victims and prepare the bodies for burial.
The shooting was the single worst act of violence against Jews in
France since 1982, when six people were killed and 22 wounded in a
grenade attack carried out by Palestinians on a Jewish restaurant in
The most recent anti-Semitic murder occurred in 2006 when Ilan Halimi
was kidnapped and killed by a gang in Paris in a crime that had
racist overtones. Reuters contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 03/19/12)
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