Police linked today's shooting at a French Jewish school to two earlier shootings, both of ethnic minorities. Some French are drawing comparisons to the 1999 Columbine High School killings.
The shooting deaths of three French children and a rabbi at an orthodox Jewish school in Toulouse today seems timed for maximum impact and shock value, coming in the midst of a French national election that has raised issues of security and national identity.
The killings are the worst suffered by France's small Jewish community in decades and the impact here is being compared to the Columbine High School shootings in the United States in 1999 or last summer's massacre of Norwegian youth at a youth political camp.
In Paris, silent protesters are marching from Republic Square to the Bastille tonight. The leading candidates for president, current leader President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger François Hollande, suspended their campaigns to travel to Tolouse and denounced the murders. They will also refrain from campaigning on Tuesday.
With ballistics reports linking today's incident at the local Ozar Hatorah Jewish school school to two grisly slayings earlier this month that killed a total of three ethnic north African French paratroopers in the same region, the French are confounded by what the intended message of the killings is.
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