Three children and their teacher who were killed this week during the shooting attack on their Jewish school in Toulouse, France, were buried in Jerusalem Wednesday.
Jonathan Sandler, 30, a rabbi and teacher at Ozar Hatorah Jewish school, his two sons Gabriel, 3, and Arieh, 6, and Miriam Monsonego, 7, the daughter of the school's principal, were buried at Givat Shaul's Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem Wednesday morning, surrounded by thousands of mourners.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who accompanied the victims and their families on the flight to Israel, spoke at the somber ceremony. "France will do everything to ensure nothing like this unbelievable tragedy ever happens again," Juppe said, the Jerusalem Post reported. "France will not tolerate terror."
As the funeral was under way, elite French counter terrorism police were surrounding a residential building in northern Toulouse where the suspected perpetrator of the killings, Mohammed Merah, was barricaded. Merah is described as a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent who has traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, served time for non-terrorism related offenses in French prison, and has reportedly professed allegiance to al-Qaida.
Merah is also suspected of killing three French security forces of North African and Caribbean descent in the Toulouse area in attacks last week. "According to the French authorities, he said he had sought to avenge Palestinian children and to attack the French army because of its foreign interventions," the BBC reported. The Palestinian Authority denounced the killings on Wednesday.
French police reportedly have had Mareh on their radar for several years because of his ties to radical groups and travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan. French investigators this week initially traced him to the recent shootings based on the IP address that was used to send an email last week about the sale of a motorbike, which was used by the gunman.
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