UPDATE----Tuesday March 20, 2012---- France's Interior Minister reported on Tuesday that surveillance tapes of the school shooting in Toulouse reveal that the killer may have recorded the murders. Video showed the gunman was recording his shooting spree with a small video camera attached to his neck.
Minister Claude Gueant said: "This shows a profile of the murderer as someone who is very cold, very determined, with precise gestures, and therefore very cruel." The shooter's face was obscured by a motorcycle helmet. The bodies of the deceased were to be flown to Israel for burial. Original report follows:
In France a gunman is on the loose who reportedly uses a black motorcycle/motorbike to arrive and depart locations at which he kills individuals in and around the city of Toulouse. After today's latest episode it is believed that the same gun was used
On Monday four people died at the Ozar Hatorah school, a private Jewish secondary institution. A father and his two sons as well as the daughter of the school's principal have been identified. The perpetrator got back on his bike and left the scene.
President Sarkozy has said today that he believes there are similarities to last Thursday's shooting of three soldiers in Montauban, 26 miles from Toulouse. Two soldiers died while one is in critical condition. They were in uniform at the time as members of a parachute regiment.
Five days prior to that in a suburb of Toulouse, an off-duty member of another regiment was shot at point-blank range and killed by a gunman on a scooter. After today's latest episode it is believed that the same gun was used in all three deadly incidents.
Extra precautions have been taken for Jewish schools and buildings in France but also nearby Belgium and the Netherlands. The dead soldiers were identified to be of north African and Caribbean origin. Two of them were Muslims.
Sarkozy canceled all appointments on Monday and traveled to Toulouse. According to the UK Guardian, he spoke to assembled media there:
"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. "Barbary, savagery, cruelty cannot win. Hate cannot win. The Republic is stronger than that," Sarkozy said.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu said today that he believes the shootings were anti-Semitic in nature. The UK Telegraph reported on his comments:
"It is too early to determine exactly what the background to the murderous act was, but we certainly cannot rule out the option that it was motivated by violent and murderous anti-Semitism. Only a person possessing demonic evil could conduct such a terrible murder of small children at a school."
Others in the international community spoke up on Monday after the slaughter at the school. The White House's statement used the words "outrageous" and "unprovoked" while condemning the shooting.
The European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso issued a strong statement about the killings and the Vatican's statement read in part: "The attack in Toulouse against a teacher and three Jewish children is a horrific and heinous act."
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