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Israeli PM: Shooting attack in France a "savage crime against Jews"

(Xinhua)

15:12, March 20, 2012

JERUSALEM, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called a lethal shooting attack at a Jewish school in southern France a "savage crime" that "gunned down Jews, among them children."

"It's too early to determine the precise background of this act of murder, but I think that we can't rule out that there was a strong, murderous anti-Semitic motive here," Netanyahu told members of his Likud party, according to a statement sent to Xinhua.

The prime minister voiced confidence that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government will "do their utmost to find the killer," adding that Israel will "do everything" to assist in the investigation.

Earlier Monday, an unknown gunman on a scooter opened fire on a group of parents and children outside the Ozar Hatorah school in the French city of Toulouse, killing four people and critically wounding another.

Among the victims identified Monday were Yonathan Sandler, 30, a Jewish studies teacher from Jerusalem, and his two children, Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3; and Miriam Monstango, 8, the school principle's daughter, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The assailant, armed with a rifle and a pistol, fired dozens of rounds, including inside the school, before fleeing the scene, eyewitnesses said.

One of the children was shot from close range, the Ha'aretz daily quoted one eyewitness as saying.

Police set up road blocks in Toulouse and launched a manhunt for the gunman. Large security forces were deployed throughout southwest France, particularly in the Jewish districts, the paper quoted French media reports.

French President Sarkozy cancelled prior commitments and arrived in Toulouse to personally oversee the investigation.

Netanyahu, in one of the harshest statements released by the Prime Minister's Office in recent months, also slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for failing to condemn the attack as it prepared to host senior Hamas official Ismail al- Ashqar in Geneva on Monday.

"I haven't heard yet a condemnation from any of the UN bodies, but I did hear that one of its bodies invited on this very day a senior representative of Hamas ... This particular individual condemned the U.S. for killing arch-murderer (Osama) bin Laden, and he represents an organization that indiscriminately targets children and adults ... They kill Jews anywhere. That's their constitution: kill Jews wherever you find them," Netanyahu said.

"So I have one thing to say to the UNHRC: What do you have to do with human rights? You should be ashamed of yourself," he added.

Al-Ashqar's scheduled appearance, however, was cancelled after Israel lodged an official complaint with the world body. In a letter, Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar urged UN officials to deny Al-Ashaqr access to the organization's European headquarters, noting that Hamas advocates violence against Israel, Ha'aretz reported Monday evening.

Earlier in the day, Israel's Foreign Ministry said it was monitoring events in France and maintaining contact with Jewish communities in the vicinity of the attack.


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  1. Name

Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz at 2012-03-23201.170.20.*
@ Netanyahu. All murderers go to hell.
john at 2012-03-21207.216.195.*
what about gaza and the children killed by the zionists, all children are sacred, but not in gaza
chris porozny at 2012-03-2150.72.134.*
The shootings in France are horrible, but no more horrible than the ongoing Jewish assaults on Palestinians. I a simply surprised it has taken this long for retaliatory attacks on the Jewish diaspora by Palestinians.
  

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