The statement followed previous remarks by the top EU diplomat, which compared the attack, in which one adult and three children were brutally slain, to Israel's operations in the Gaza Strip.
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Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Palestinian youths in Brussels on Monday, Ashton was quoted as saying: "When we think about what happened today in Toulouse, we remember what happened in Norway last year, we know what is happening in Syria, and we see what is happening in Gaza and other places."
The statement outraged Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni all calling it "outrageous" and demanding she retract it without delay.
Following the harsh criticism, a spokesperson for the EU Foreign Affairs Commission released the following statement: "The High Representative strongly condemns the killings at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse yesterday and extends her sympathies to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of France and the Jewish community.
"We want to make this clear, because (Ashton's) words yesterday at the UNRWA event were grossly
distorted by one of the news agencies.
"In her remarks, the High Representative referred to tragedies taking the lives of children around the
world and drew no parallel whatsoever between the circumstances of the Toulouse attack and the
situation in Gaza. "
France mourned the shooting, which claimed the lives of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons Gabriel and Arieh and 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, by observing a moment of silence in schools across France.
Ahiya Raved and Moran Azulay contributed to this report
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