A Teacher And Three Students Shot Dead Outside French Jewish School

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Tragic new from France this morning that evokes images of the North Valley JCC shooting in 1999. JTA reports that three students and a teacher were shot dead outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France:

A man riding a motorbike reportedly opened fire Monday morning outside the Ozar Hatorah School, where students were waiting to enter the building at the start of the school day. The shooter then entered the building and continued shooting at students and teachers before fleeing on his motorbike.

Several students also were injured inside the building, according to reports. The dead are reported to be a teacher and his two sons, as well as the daughter of the school’s principal.

“Whoever did this is looking to target the Jewish community at its weakest point, its youth, in the hopes of spreading fear throughout the community,” said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, in a statement. “They will not succeed. The Jews of Europe in general and the Jews of France in particular have a long history of standing firm against hatred and violence, and I know as a community French Jewry will send a message of strength and resilience in the face of those who wish to terrorize them.

“This is a brazen assault on France and French society, and another telling reminder of the dangers that exist for Jewish communities in today’s world,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, in a statement. “We count on French authorities to pursue the investigation vigorously, arrest whoever is involved, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, as well as review security at Jewish institutions. We have confidence they will.”

France has had plenty of problems with anti-Semitism, including the brutal murder of Ilan Halimi. No word yet on what motivated this attack.