French security circles close to the investigation of the shooting Monday, March 19, which left a teacher and three children dead at the Ozar Hatora school in Toulouse, told debkafile Tuesday that they have no leads as yet to the killer or suspects. He vanished by motorbike as mysteriously as he arrived at the school. All that can be deduced for now was that he was a trained – and possibly a hired – assassin.
This theory is strengthened by one of the witnesses reporting that he had a video camera hanging around his neck. He may have used it to record the attack on the Jewish school along with his report to whoever paid him to commit the crime.
The French investigators are not even sure that the school killer was also responsible for the point blank shooting Thursday, March 15 in the neighboring town of Montauban of French paratroops of North African descent who had served in Afghanistan. Three soldiers died and one was badly injured.
Even if the same pistol was used in both cases, it might have been passed by a single paymaster to two killers. Initial ballistic tests indicate that different bullets may have been fired. Witness descriptions between the two attacks vary: The man who shot the soldiers is described as tubby, while the school shooter was said to appear very fit.
The same French sources were surprised to hear Israeli media suggestions that the Ozar Hatora murders were part of a chain of hate crimes perpetrated by pro-Nazi soldiers expelled from the French army. Nothing points in that direction, they say.
French political sources with links to security services told debkafile that the investigation is also exploring the theory that the two attacks were somehow related to the French presidential election coming up in a month. Both President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is running for reelection, and his Socialist rival, Francois Hollande, were quick to grasp the ramifications of the terrorist killings for their campaigns. They lost no time in flying to the scene of the crime and responding to the horror – no doubt sincerely, but also in a politically appropriate manner.
Until some light is shed on the motives for the killings, France has boosted security at all faith schools in the country as well as Jewish institutions.