France falls silent for shooting victims

Pupils across the country filled the courtyards of their schools to pay their respects to the victims of the attack [AFP]

Schools across France have held a minute of silence to remember the four victims at a Jewish school in Toulouse killed by a gunman in what investigators suspect may be the latest in a spate of racially motivated killings.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy led the mourning at a central Paris school before addressing the small group of children in its courtyard on Tuesday.

"These children were three, six and eight years old. The murderer hounded a little girl. It's a serious matter. So serious that the whole republic is concerned. Your teachers, your families and you," Sarkozy said.

In Toulouse, families and friends wept as the bodies of the three children and a rabbi began their journey from the Jewish school to their burial in Israel. The three children were Franco-Israeli citizens.

Two black hearses carried the bodies out of Ozar Hatorah school and left for a nearby airport where they were to be flown on a military plane to Paris and then by commercial flight to Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Relatives and friends had gathered at the school in the southwestern city for the departure of the bodies of 30-year-old Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh and Gabriel, and seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego.

Manhunt

French police on Monday started a huge manhunt after the shooting and the region was put on its highest level of security alert.

(more of the article)

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