France Puts Toulouse on Top Terror Alert

Sarkozy says riot police will secure region until 'this criminal' is caught
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2012 2:11 PM CDT
France Puts Toulouse on Top Terror Alert
A French schoolchild leaves a Jewish school in Paris watched by police officers, Monday, March 19, 2012.   (Jacques Brinon)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says authorities are raising the terrorism alert to its highest level across a swath of southern France where a gunman opened fire on a Jewish school before fleeing. Sarkozy said today's attack in Toulouse, which killed three children and a rabbi, was the worst-ever school shooting in France. One of the weapons used today was the same used to kill three paratroopers in two different attacks in the Toulouse region last week. Sarkozy suggested one person was behind all three attacks.

Sarkozy said the terror alert level is being raised to scarlet, the highest on a four-point scale, in the region that includes Toulouse and neighboring areas. Sarkozy said 14 riot police units "will secure the region as long as this criminal" hasn't been caught. France has seen a low drumroll of anti-Semitic incidents, and issues of religious minorities and race have emerged prominently in its current presidential campaign. Click for more on the shootings. (Read more France stories.)

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