French police suspect neo-Nazi link to attack on Toulouse Jewish school
Police beef up security around Jewish institutions in southern France; bodies of the victims scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for burial.
TOULOUSE, France – French investigators suspect there may be a link between the attack on a Jewish school in here on Monday and two other attacks which occurred in the area a week earlier, saying French soldiers suspected of neo-Nazi activities may have carried out the attacks.
Speaking to Jewish community leaders on Tuesday, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said that authorities estimated that the attack was indeed perpetrated by neo-Nazi elements who may have also been responsible for the attack against the French paratroopers.
Witnesses said Monday's attack, in which four people were killed, was carried out by armed attackers riding on a scooter, one with a camera around his neck.
Last week, four French soldiers of north African origin were killed in two separate attacks that followed a similar pattern. Police sources told the British newspaper the Guardian that the same weapon may have been used in the attacks.
French authorities said they suspect French paratroopers sanctioned for alleged neo-Nazi activities may have carried out the attacks, but are also exploring other directions.
Meanwhile, security was bolstered around Jewish community institutions in southern France following the attack on Monday, with police blocking roads around the Ozar Hatorah school.
Toulouse Jewish community head Aryeh Ben-Simhon said that armed guards had been stationed outside the city's thirteen synagogues and three Jewish schools, with the community on "high alert."
According to Ben-Simhon, the Jewish community had warned authorities in the past that they could be targeted by extremists. "Guards were posted in the past, but then they were removed," he said.
The bodies of the four victims of Monday's attack are scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for burial, following a memorial ceremony in Toulouse.
Last week, Italian police arrested a Moroccan-born man suspected of plotting to attack a synagogue in the north of the country, according to a BBC report.