TOULOUSE - A gunman burst into a Jewish school in the south-western French city of Toulouse on Monday, March 19, killing four people, including three children, an attack that sent shockwaves across France.
"I saw two people dead in front of the school, an adult and a child, one father, searching for his son at the Ozar Hatorah school, told RTL radio
... Inside, it was a vision of horror, the bodies of two small children."
A gunman driving a motorbike killed a 30-year old Hebrew teacher, his two children aged three and six, and another child.
Shortly before eight o'clock (0700 GMT) a man on a powerful scooter or a motorbike dismounted and shot at everything he could see. At children as well as adults," prosecutor Michel Valet said, Reuters reported.
"This individual also chased some children into the school.
The gunman initially used a 9-mm weapon but it jammed, so he switched to a .45-calibre gun as he went into the school, police said.
The attackers fled on a scooter after killing his victims.
Monday's attack came days after the killing of three soldiers - one of Caribbean and two of Muslim origin, in drive-by shootings.
"We don't know who this killer is and what is the exact link is to the drama that has hit the military community," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after arriving in Toulouse.
"Everything must be done so that the killer is stopped and has to pay for his crimes."
"Our schools must keep functioning, our compatriots that want to worship at synagogues, mosques and churches must be able to continue to do so. We should not give ground to terror."
The school killings have sent shockwaves across the European country.
"How can they attack something as sacred as a school, attack children only 60 centimeters (two feet) tall?" a father looking for his son told RTL radio.
Another tearful mother was in disbelief over the shooting.
"All the children at this school were my children," she told LCI television.
Six-year-old Alexia could not believe the killing of his colleagues in the school.
"I came to the school this morning for prayers," Alexia told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"Five minutes later we heard shots, and we were very afraid. We were gathered in a room and prayed together while we waited for our parents."
As messages of condolence poured in from across Europe, representatives of France's Jewish community voiced their solidarity.
"The whole Jewish community is in mourning," said Rabbi Moshe Lewin, a spokesman for France's great rabbi.
"In the face of such a drama, such a horror, one cannot but go there."France's 600,000-strong Jewish community is Europe's largest.