03/20/2012, 00.00

Massacre at Jewish school. Vatican: horrible and ignominious act

Security stepped up at all Jewish institutions. French police confirm that weapon and motorbike used by assassin are the same used to kill some Frenchmen of North African and the Caribbean origin. Netanyahu: A despicable murder.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "A horrible and ignominious act" is how the director of the Vatican Press, Fr. Federico Lombardi, described the massacre of the Jewish school of Toulouse yesterday at 8 am, that cost the lives of a rabbi, his two sons and the daughter of the headmaster of the school.

In his message of condolence, Fr. Lombardi said that the gesture arouses 2deep indignation and dismay'' and the most resolute condemnation, particularly given the age and the innocence of the young victims and because it targeted "a peaceful Jewish educational institute''. United with the solidarity expressed by the archbishop of Toulouse to the families of victims and Jewish communities, the director of the Vatican Press Office'' expressed our deep involvement, our concern for this horrible deed, and our spiritual solidarity''.

The massacre took place in the schoolyard of Ozar Hatorah, southwest of Toulouse. The killer, who arrived on a Yamaha motorbike, entered the yard and started shooting. The victims are a school teacher, Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, a native of Jerusalem, and his two sons aged three and six. The fourth person killed was a child of seven years, Myriam Monsonego, daughter of the headmaster, who died in the arms of her father. A security camera shows that the murderer grabbed the small child by the hair before shooting her. A 17 year old boy was injured and his condition is serious.

The school, situated in a very quiet neighborhood, has 200 pupils between 11 and 18, in middle and upper middle classes.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who immediately travelled on site, called the massacre "a national tragedy."

Meanwhile, the French police have verified that the same weapon and same motorbike was used in two other attacks against French soldiers of North African and Caribbean origin. Four days ago, two soldiers were killed near Montauban, another eight days ago in Toulouse.

The police have launched a nationwide manhunt to suspects the involvement of former neo-Nazi soldiers. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has offered transportation of remains for burial in Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the attack was a "vile murder" and said he was certain that President Sarkozy and his government "will do everything in their power to find the killer." Netanyahu added that "Israel will help France for this purpose." Meanwhile, worldwide all Jewish institutions have increased security.


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