French police swoop on suspects in Jewish school killings

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
March 21, 2012 06:47

2 French police officers injured in shoot-out during raid on house in Toulouse to arrest suspects in killings of three children, rabbi at Toulouse school, police source says; 'suspects linked to Islamist group.'

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French police guard Ozar Hatorah Jewish school

French police guard Ozar Hatorah Jewish school EMBED (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot)

Two French police officers were injured in a shoot-out during a raid on a house in Toulouse on Wednesday to arrest suspects in the killings of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in southwest France this week, a police source said.

The source said the raid began at 3.00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) and was ongoing, but did not provide further details.

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French news channel BFM TV said the suspects were linked to an Islamist group which it identified as Forsane Alizza but it was not immediately possible to confirm this. BFM said police were negotiating with a 24-year-old man inside the house.

Reuters witnesses at the scene heard several shots at about 0440 GMT.

Heavily armed police in bullet-proof vests and helmets cordoned off the residential area where the raid was taking place, in a leafy suburb close to the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where Monday's shootings took place.

Emergency services were also at the scene, but there were no visible signs of an ongoing siege.

Authorities believe that the gunman in Monday's school shooting was the same person responsible for killing three soldiers of North African origin in two shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban.

A third soldier, of Caribbean origin, remains in a coma.

The same Colt 45 handgun was used in all three attacks and in each case the gunman arrived on a Yamaha scooter with his face hidden by a motorcycle helmet.

Meanwhile Wednesday morning, a French military airplane carrying the bodies of the four victims of the shooting attack landed in Israel.

The victims were set to be buried in Jerusalem at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.


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