French school shooting: A serial killer of Jews and Arabs (+video)?
The fatal shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on Monday is the third motorcycle killing in France in a week. Four French paratroopers, reportedly of Arab origin, were shot last week.
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Other motorcycle assassinations
On March 10, a gunman on a motorbike shot and killed a paratrooper in Toulouse. And last Thursday, a gunman on a motorbike opened fire on three uniformed paratroopers at a bank machine in Montauban, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Toulouse, killing two and critically wounding the other.Skip to next paragraph
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The Paris prosecutor's office said it will investigate eventual terrorist links to Monday's killing and the two killings of paratroopers last week. The prosecutor's office, in a statement, did not indicate any evidence so far of terrorism.
France has the largest Jewish community in western Europe, estimated at about 500,000. France also has the largest Muslim population in western Europe, about 5 million.
A man who lives near the school said he spoke with the father just before he was shot and killed.
"I said "Bonjour" to him like normal," said the 29-year-old, asking to be identified only by his first name Baroukh.
"Then he went out into the school entrance. I heard the shots and I turned around and saw him on the ground. He looked dead. But I didn't have much time to see who did it because I panicked and started running away."
Both the prosecutor and Brandet said there were similarities with the attack four days ago in Montauban and in Toulouse eight days ago.
"It is too early to establish a sure link" between Monday's shooting and those of the paratroopers last week, the prosecutor said. "But there are elements that justify asking very serious questions."
Forensic analysis showed the same weapon was used in the shootings in Montauban and Toulouse.
Sarkozy visited the school accompanied by Richard Prasquier, the president of CRIF, the umbrella group representing Jewish organizations.
"It's a day of national tragedy," Sarkozy said after arriving. "The barbary, the savagery, the cruelty cannot win. Hate cannot win. The nation is much stronger."
Einat Wilf, an Israeli legislator from the Independence Party, said legislators were being briefed on the shooting.
Special prayers were being offered Monday at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Elaine Ganley and Thomas Adamson in Paris and Amy Teibel in Jerusalem contributed to this report.