Jerusalem – The four victims of a shooting attack at a Jewish school in France will be brought to Israel for burial, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Israel is honoring a request by the families of those killed, and the bodies will be flown to the Jewish state as quickly as possible, said ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
In Monday’s attack in the southern city of Toulouse, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire with two handguns at the Ozar Hatorah school, killing a rabbi, his two sons and the daughter of the school’s principal.
Palmor identified the victims as Jonathan Sandler, 30, sons Gabriel and Arieh, ages four and five, and 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the principal’s daughter.
Sandler and his family moved from Israel to France last year.
“He was a very happy, friendly and well loved guy,” said Aaron Getz, who studied with Sandler in Jerusalem. “He gave everything of himself to the Jewish community.”
The identity of the gunman is not known.
News that the gun used Monday was the same used in attacks last week around Toulouse fueled suspicions that a killer is targeting French minorities, and not only Jews. The dead and injured in the earlier attacks were paratroopers of North African and Caribbean origin.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the school attack at a meeting of his Likud Party on Monday.
“It’s too early to say what the precise background for this act of murder is, but I think that we can’t rule out that there was a strong, murderous anti-Semitic motive here,” Netanyahu said.
“I’m sure that Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, and his government will do their utmost to find the killer, and we in Israel will do everything to help them in this task,” Netanyahu said.
Danny Yatom, a former chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, said that if it turns out to have been a terror attack rather than a hate crime, he believes Iran or its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah are likely suspects. Yatom said assailants prefer Jewish civilian targets because they are easier to hit than Israeli ones.