A French military airplane carrying the bodies of the four victims of Monday’s shooting attack at a Jewish school in France landed in Israel Wednesday morning.
The victims were set to be buried in Jerusalem at 9 a.m.
Yonatan Sandler, a 30- year-old French-born teacher from Jerusalem; his
two children Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three; and eight-year-old Miriam
Monsonego, the daughter of the school’s principal, died in the attack at
the Ozar Hatorah school.
National Insurance Institute
director-general Esther Dominisini announced Tuesday that she had
resolved the controversy of funding the burial.
The NII had initially opposed funding the elder Sandler’s burial due to bureaucratic regulations regarding citizenship.
Although Sandler was not an Israeli citizen, his two murdered children were citizens, as are his wife and surviving child.
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an uncommon act of solidarity, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe
arrived in the country Wednesday to take part in the funerals of the
According to a statement from the French embassy,
Juppe is coming to represent the French government at the funerals, and
to express the French people’s feeling of solidarity with the victims’
families and the Jewish community.
Diplomatic sources said details of the visit were arranged hurriedly on Tuesday.
was greeted at Ben-Gurion airport by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Ayalon who thanked the French foreign minister on behalf of the Israeli
government for France's cooperation in the events following the attack.
Juppe was expected to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his brief stay.
continue to investigate the deadly attack, it has emerged that the
gunman filmed his carnage, France’s interior minister said, as the
country prepared to hold a silent tribute to the victims on Tuesday.
Gueant told reporters that video surveillance tapes at the school in
Toulouse showed the gunman recording his shooting spree with a small
video camera attached to his neck.
“This adds another element to
the profile of the killer. It is someone who is cruel enough to record
it,” Gueant said at a primary school in the southwestern city, adding
that it showed the murderer was “someone who is very cold, very
determined, with precise gestures.”
The school attack and the
killing of three soldiers last week, believed to be the work of the same
perpetrators, has stunned France and prompted President Nicolas Sarkozy
and other leading candidates to suspend campaigning for next month’s
Sarkozy sent a letter on Monday to Netanyahu expressing his “sincerest condolences
” over the murders.
all the citizens of France and all the citizens of Israel, I was
shocked and outraged when I was informed this morning of the murder of
four people, among them three children, at the Ozar Hatorah school in
Toulouse,” he wrote.
Noting that some of the victims were also
Israeli citizens, the president said he was writing “to impart to you
and the entire nation of Israel my sincerest condolences.”
also promised to arrest the “despicable” criminal behind the attacks and
use the fullest extent of the law to punish his “cruelty.” Sarkozy
visited the scene of the crime on Monday and participated in a memorial
ceremony at a Paris synagogue, where he expressed his determination not
to let such a crime go unpunished.
“On the occasion of these
tragedies, I wish to impart to you my profound sympathy,” he closed the
letter, handwriting “with friendship” above his signature.
than 200 police officers have joined the hunt for the gunman, who is the
prime suspect in the killing of three paratroopers in two separate
shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban, to the
Gueant said police were pursuing several leads into the
attacks, which shared a number features. In each attack, the gunman
arrived on a stolen scooter and used a Colt .45 handgun.
ordered security tightened in Toulouse, with guards posted at religious
sites and the terror alert at its highest level in the city and the
“We will track down this monster. We will
find him, bring him to justice and punish him,” Juppe said of the killer
on France 2 television.
A child who survived the attack spoke of his feelings of terror as the shots rang out through the school.
were getting ready for prayers when the principal stormed in and
screamed that there was a shooting. I panicked and fled to the old
canteen and heard the shots, but saw nothing,” the 11-year-old boy told
France Info radio.
“I thought he was going to come in any minute
and finish us all,” he said, “Then I waited and waited, and then my
daddy came to get me.”
Police have not named a suspect but are
searching the city of around one million for a man they believe could be
a trained marksman, as well as the Yamaha scooter he used to flee. A
motorcycle helmet hid the shooter’s face during the attack.
who said on Monday the school killings appeared to be motivated by
racism, attended a one-minute silent vigil on Tuesday in a Paris
secondary school. Schools in all of France will observe a minute of
At the entrance to Ozar Hatorah, a five-floor brick
building in a leafy residential neighborhood, residents and parents left
floral tributes and candles in memory of the victims.
Monday’s shooting was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on French soil in nearly 30 years.
August 1982, six people were killed in a combined grenade and gun
attack at the Goldenberg restaurant in Paris’s Marais Jewish district.
exists in France, we have fought it for years,” Juppe said. He said
Jewish organizations had complained about an increase in anti-Semitic
incidents recently, but rejected suggestions that racial tensions
stirred during the campaign could have triggered the attacks.
“Nobody should try to benefit in any way from this drama, which is in no way linked to the electoral campaign,” Juppe said.
who is seeking reelection in a two-round election in April and May,
said he would suspend his campaign until Wednesday. Far-right chief
Marine Le Pen, trailing frontrunner François Hollande and Sarkozy, made a
Dominique Reynie, head of the Fondapol politics
institute, said the killings could transform the election campaign five
weeks before polling day.
“The tone of the campaign cannot go
back to what it was,” he told Reuters. “The campaign was dominated by an
aggressive tone and a strong degree of populist rhetoric. This rhetoric
will cease because there will be voter demand for healing.”
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