Four slain at French Jewish school
TOULOUSE, France – A gunman on a motorbike opened fire Monday at a Jewish school, killing a rabbi and his two young sons while they waited for a bus, then chased down a 7-year-old girl, shooting her dead at point-blank range. It was the latest in a series of attacks on minorities that have raised fears of a racist killer on the loose.
Authorities said the same weapon, a powerful .45-caliber handgun, was used in two other recent shootings in southwestern France, also involving an assailant who fled by motorbike. Those attacks left three people dead – military paratroopers of North African and Caribbean origin.
The shootings echoed across a nation that has been focused on an upcoming presidential race in which issues about religious minorities and race have gained prominence. President Nicolas Sarkozy – facing a hard re-election battle – raised the terrorism alert level in the region to its highest level, while also noting a possible racist motive.
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