Sarkozy: Toulouse Shooting at Jewish School Is a Frightening Tragedy

French schools to stand for moment of silence for four victims of shooting on a Jewish school in southern France; Sarkozy and Hollande suspend election campaign.

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President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that the shooting on a Jewish school in Toulouse that left four people dead is a "abominable drama and a frightening tragedy."

Sarkozy cancelled his appointments and left for Toulouse on Monday morning, accompanied by Education Minister Luc Chatel and the president of the CRIF French Jewish association, Richard Prasquier.

Nicolas Sarkozy, France's President delivers a speech in front of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, southwestern France, March 19, 2012.Credit: Reuters

Sarkozy and Socialist presidential nominee François Hollande announced the suspension of the election campaign. French police heighten security around Jewish schools across France closing streets.

The president met with local police officers. Speaking in Toulouse he said that “the investigation will be completed in its entirety. Whoever did it was crazy to murder Jewish children.”

The commander of the local police said they didn’t yet have a lead, but that a suspicious white car was seen at the scene of the crime.

Sarkozy said that on Tuesday, every school in France will stand for a moment of silence for the victims of the Toulouse shooting.

Hollande, the socialist presidential candidate for the French presidency announced that he will also travel to Toulouse to “express solidarity with the victims’ families and the French Jewish community.”

Policemen are at work near the 'Ozar Hatorah' Jewish school, on March 19, 2012 in Toulouse, southwestern France.Credit: AFP

Marine Le Pen, president of the extreme right-wing party Front National, condemned the attack saying it was “horrifying and that its perpetrators must be punished severely.”

Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist Party, denounced the shooting saying it was “a monstrous crime.” He expressed his own solidarity with the victims’ families and the Jewish community. He also expressed hope that the criminals responsible would be brought to justice quickly.

A spokesman for the French interior ministry said that security was being tightened at all Jewish schools in the country. “We must be careful. There is at least one killer on the loose.”

Christophe Bigot, French Ambassador to Israel said Monday that “this is a very difficult time for the families. I am personally shaken by this awful incident. We’d like to express our sympathies to the families and the Toulouse Jewish community and to promise that the issue be dealt with at with the utmost seriousness. We will do everything possible to apprehend the barbaric assailant responsible for these atrocities.”



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