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French school killer may have filmed shootings

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 9:41 AM    

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TOULOUSE, France (AP) — A gunman who killed four people at a French Jewish school may have filmed the attack, the interior minister said today, as hundreds of police combed southern France for the killer, suspected in three other deaths.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the attacker was "wearing around his neck an apparatus" that could be used to film and post video online. He said that gave investigators new clues to the killer's "profile”, though he admitted that they don't appear to close to an arrest.

Gueant described the suspect as "someone very cold, very determined, very much a master of his movements, and by consequence, very cruel”.

Asked whether the gunman recorded the scene, Gueant responded, "We can imagine that." But he added that authorities have not yet found any images of the killings online.

Gueant was speaking in the city of Toulouse, where an unidentified assailant opened fire at a Jewish school Monday, killing a rabbi and his two sons and the daughter of the school principal. Authorities say one of the same weapons was used in killings of three French paratroopers last week.

Schools around France are holding a moment of silence today to honour the victims of the shootings.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is meeting with members of France's Jewish and Muslim community. France has the largest population of Jews and Muslims in western Europe.

The paratroopers targeted last week, also in the Toulouse region, were of North African and French Caribbean descent. Concerns mounted about a suspected racist and anti-Semitic serial killer.

In all three killings, the assailant fled on a motorbike.

The shootings echoed across a nation that has been focused on an upcoming presidential race in which issues about religious minorities and race have gained prominence. Sarkozy — who has struck a nationalist line in his campaigning — raised the terrorism alert level in the region to its highest level, while also noting a possible racist motive.

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