TOULOUSE – first hand accounts of the massacre
at the Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday demonstrate the magnitude of the horror. According to descriptions of those who witnessed the killer, who is still being hunted down by French police, he chased after Miriam Monsonego, who had yet to celebrate her eighth birthday, and shot her repeatedly in order to confirm the kill.
Monday's shooting attack on the Ozar Hatorah School
claimed the lives of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 29, his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons Gabriel and Arieh and 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego.
According to initial details, a man riding on a scooter opened fire
on the school at around 7:46 am, as the students were arriving for the school day, and then fled the scene. A local police official said the shooter fired 15 shots at the school and its students.
Local community in mourning (Photo: Reuters)
Jonathan Sandler was the first one to be shot at short range by the killer. He was holding his son Gabriel in his arms. Gabriel was hit and fell to the ground and then Arieh followed.
According to eye-witnesses, the gun then jammed, temporarily putting a halt to the rampage but the killer swiftly changed weapons and headed into the school. He grabbed Miriam as she tried to escape, grasped her hair and shot her.
Then, as she bled to death on the floor, he lifted up her head and fired two additional bullets.
Sarkozy in Toulouse (Photo: AFP)
French police investigating the fatal shootings are hunting three soldiers who were expelled over claims they were neo-Nazis.
The men were all axed from their elite paratrooper regiment in 2008 after a photo surfaced of them giving Nazi salutes in front of a Swastika flag.
Discussing Monday's massacre French President Nicolas Sarkozy
said "This act was odious, it cannot remain unpunished."
"Barbarity, savagery and cruelty cannot win, hate cannot win. The republic is much stronger than all this," Sarkozy said, announcing a minute of silence in schools on Tuesday.
Menachem Gantz is on special assignment for Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth in Toulouse, France