5:15am

Mon March 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Killings At School In France Follow Earlier Murders Of Soldiers

There are fears in France today that the killings of at least four people outside a Jewish school in the city of Toulouse are linked to earlier murders of three soldiers and that the victims were targeted because they belonged to ethnic or religious minorities.

According to France 24, and other news outlets, today's victims include a rabbi who was teaching Yiddish at the school and his two young sons. The boys, The Associated Press reports, were 3- and 6-years-old. The other person killed was reportedly a child between the age of 8 and 10. A 17-year-old was seriously wounded, news outlets say.

Witnesses say the gunman arrived on a scooter. And as the BBC writes, "police say there are similarities with the killings of three soldiers in two separate incidents the same part of France last week. All three — of North African origin — were shot by a man on a scooter."

France 24 says that the French newspaper LeFigaro is reporting that "spent cartridges found at the scene on Monday were of the same .45 calibre as cartridges used in the [other] shootings last week. The paper also reported that police sources believed it was the same killer."

The BBC adds that "Monday's attack happened as children and their parents were arriving at the Ozar Hatorah school, in the Joliment area of the city, for the start of the school day. Local prosecutor Michel Valet said ... 'he shot at everything he could see, children and adults, and some children were chased into the school.' "

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Reports: Police Sources Say Same Gun Was Used:

The Associated Press, France 24 and some other outlets are reporting that "police sources" say the gun used in today's killing was also used during the other recent murders.

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Latest Lede From The Associated Press:

"A motorcycle gunman opened fire Monday in front of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a schoolgirl, the prosecutor's office said. It was the third deadly motorcycle shooting in the same area in recent days."

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. More On The Killings And Aftermath:

"What the victims have in common is that they belong to, or are associated with, ethnic or religious minorities - North African, Caribbean and Jewish," the BBC says. "In one respect, however, the third attack appears different: the gunman reportedly fired indiscriminately inside the school grounds."

"FRANCE 24 correspondent Chris Bockman said the city was in 'lockdown' as police searched for the gunman. 'But this is a medieval city with narrow winding roads, where it is easy for a scooter to outrun a police car,' he added."

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