French authorities hunt Toulouse killer

French authorities hunt Toulouse killer

A major manhunt was underway across France today for a suspected racist serial killer.

It follows three separate shootings in and around Toulouse, including the killing of three children and a rabbi outside a Jewish school in the area yesterday.

Yesterday's shootings were carried out with the same heavy calibre .45 automatic pistol that was used in two attacks that murdered three soldiers of North African and Caribbean origin in the region last week.

In all three incidents the lone gunman arrived and escaped on a dark-coloured high-powered scooter.

Rabbi Johnathan Sandler, 30, who had been teaching Yiddish at the Jewish school for seven months, his six and three-year-old sons and another child aged around nine were gunned down at around 8am just before lessons were due to start at Ozar Hatorah school.

The gunman pumped 15 rounds at his helpless targets.

A minute's silence will be held in all French schools today in memory of the victims.

The country has raised its terror alert to 'red', the highest before a full state of emergency is declared.

Meanwhile it has been claimed that France is awash with illegal firearms transported into the country across porous European borders.

While gun laws are strict, it is not difficult for unauthorised members of the public to get their hands on weapons, according to the president of the Union Francaise des Amateurs d’Armes, a French gun society.

Jean-Jacques Buigne suggested the killer responsible for the attacks outside a school in Toulouse most likely did not have a licence for the heavy calibre .45 automatic pistol he was carrying.

“It’s impossible to obtain authorisation for an arm like that if you’re not ’clean’, if you have any convictions, if you have any history of psychiatric problems,” he said.

“It’s very complicated to get a weapon like that legitimately. But in France lots of criminals use illegal arms and no law could change that.”

He blamed the problem on the open borders between European countries and claimed many arms were carried into France from eastern Europe in vans.

Others have spoken of the difficulty of counting how many firearms there are in the country, with the number estimated at more than three million in 2008.

Many of these were thought to be used for hunting or other sporting activities and the owners of them would have been required to hold a licence.

But it is thought the number of weapons circulating significantly exceeds what official figures suggest.

More on this topic

10 held in French terrorism raids

French arrest Islamist suspectsFrench arrest Islamist suspects

Toulouse gunman 'to be buried in France'Toulouse gunman 'to be buried in France'

School killer 'was a lone wolf'School killer 'was a lone wolf'

More in this Section

EU envoy ‘disagreed with Trump’s order on Ukraine policy’EU envoy ‘disagreed with Trump’s order on Ukraine policy’

Duckenfield had opportunity to change Hillsborough match plans, court toldDuckenfield had opportunity to change Hillsborough match plans, court told

'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him

Prolonged exposure to blue light may speed up ageing process, researchers sayProlonged exposure to blue light may speed up ageing process, researchers say


Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner