Terror alert in France as Interior Minister Guéant admits Jewish school killer's identity still unknown
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France has launched a massive manhunt for the killer of four people at a Jewish school in the southern city of Toulouse on Monday with investigators believing the cold-blooded murderer is behind another three deadly attacks in eight days in the region. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has temporarily suspended his re-election campaign and called for all schools in France to observe a minutes silence at 11am for the victims.
The first killing was in Toulouse on 1 March. Four days later the murderer shot dead two more soldiers of North African origin in the garrison town of nearby Montauban. Interior Minister Claude Guéant has confirmed reports that police are looking into three soldiers formerly based in Montauban who were kicked out of the army in 2008 after being photographed making Nazi salutes.
Guéant admitted police did not know the identity of the man behind the attacks, but quote a witness who said he was wearing a small video camera around his neck.
Police are particularly concerned the the killer might strike again and have put the Midi-Pyrenees region on ‘scarlet’ alert, the highest before a formal state of emergency. This gives the authorities sweeping powers including possibly closing rails terminal and airports or even halting water supplies.
The bodies of the four victims - Gabriel Sandler aged-four, Arieh Sandler aged-five, their father Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Myriam Monsonego aged-seven - are to be flown to Israel later on Tuesday. The Israeli embassy in Paris told the French news agency the plan was for all the victims to be buried on Wednesday in Israel as requested by their families.
And thousands of people marched through the streets of Paris Monday night, led by a Jewish student’s group.
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