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Victims Data
Victims Nationality/Ethnic Origin French, Israeli
Victims Gender Male, Female
Victims Age <17, 26-35
Victims Number 9
Fatalities - deaths 7
Perpetrators Data
Perpetrators Nationality/Ethnic Origin N/A
Perpetrator Gender Male
Perpetrator Age N/A
Perpetrators Number 1
Extremist/Organised Group Violence No

On Monday morning 19 March 2012, a gunman shot dead three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse (South West of France).

It was the third murderous attack on unarmed people in the region in little over a week, and the most deadly attack against Jews in France since a 1982 assault on a Paris kosher restaurant. The police said that the same gun, an automatic pistol, was used in all three shootings, the one Monday and two earlier attacks on French paratroopers. In those shootings, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet killed three French paratroopers and critically wounded another. The soldiers were all from Muslim origin or black, and appeared to have been targeted specifically, witnesses said.

The local prosecutor, Michel Valet, said that a religious instructor, his two children and another child, the daughter of the school’s director, were killed in Monday’s attack and that a 17-year-old boy was seriously wounded. The killer “shot at everything he could see, children and adults, and some children were chased into the school,” Mr. Valet said.

The suspect pursued his last victim, an 8-year-old girl, into the concrete courtyard, seizing and stopping her by her hair, said Nicole Yardeni, who leads the regional branch of the Crif, France’s most prominent Jewish association, and who viewed video surveillance footage of the killing.

“We are faced with an individual who targets his victims specifically,” said Élisabeth Allannic, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is handling the investigation. “He targets his victims for what they represent.” The interior minister, Claude Géant, said it was worrying that the gunman seemed to act with impunity and coldness, and that he clearly had a sophisticated knowledge of weapons. Nicolas Sarkozy, French President, said the killings and those of the soldiers appeared to be motivated by racism. "Babarity, savagery and cruelty cannot win, hate cannot win. The republic is much stronger than all this," he said, announcing a minute of silence in schools on Tuesday.

The shootings could thrust security back to the top of the agenda in a bitter electoral campaign that has been dominated by issues of taxation and immigration.