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Toulouse Jewish School Shooting

UPDATE:
Victims of Jewish School Massacre in France Laid to Rest in Israel

Four victims of a horrific shooting will finally be laid to rest as their bodies are transported to Israel for funeral services and burial. The victims, a rabbi, his two sons and an 8-year-old girl were wrapped in prayer shawls and laid on a podium in front of hundreds of mourners that included the French foreign minister.

The lives of these innocent four were maliciously taken as they were gunned down at a Jewish school by a gunman who fled the scene on a motorcycle. The suspect was later identified as Mohammed Merah, who continues to remain at a standoff in his apartment with police and negotiators. According to officials, Merah is a self-described jihadist with ties to al-Qaeda, and his shooting rampage was spurred by the massacre of Palestinian children at the hands of U.S. and NATO troops. Merah is believed to be a lone wolf, and at this time, there is no reason to believe there are additional suspects involved.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler was a school teacher who pursued religious studies in Israel before returning to France for a teaching position. His sons were Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4. The fourth victim was 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the daughter of the school’s principal. Her father was present at the time of the shooting and witnessed his daughter being gunned down.

Such a senseless act of brutality and loss of innocent life serves as a reminder that violence of any form must be strongly condemned. It is a time for unity and to set aside petty differences. It is also a time to recognize that evil exists and that steps must be taken to maintain the security of a sovereign nation. With grieving losses come strength and a call for people to unite and put an end to hate from all sides.

UPDATE: Mohammed Merah, the man believed to be the gunman on a scooter who killed seven people in south-western France, is a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian extraction. Police in France surround a block of flats in Toulouse where they say the suspect in Monday’s shooting of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school is holed up. The man informed police he wanted to “avenge Palestinian children” and denounced French “crimes” in Afghanistan.

The attack occurred earlier this week at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. According to witnesses, a lone gunman entered the building and shot a teacher and three children dead in the school, also injuring one more teenager. The attacker then fled on a scooter, in a similar fashion as from two earlier incidents in France last week. The same type of caliber was also used in all 3 attacks, a .45 calibre gun, and the search for the killer is under way. This marks a very deadly series of incidents to happen in the country in a very short time frame.

According to sources close to the investigation, CCTV cameras captured the license plate number of the scooter, and the police is searching for this vehicle along with its owner. Meanwhile, a special memorial is being setup for the victims and will be taking place in one of the synagogues in Toulouse. President Sarkozy flew to the city and declared the attack a national tragedy, after speaking with some of the friends and families of the victims. He asked all students in France to observe a minute of silence on Tuesday, and said the hunt for the killer was well under way. All other candidates in the France election campaign have suspended their activities for the week.

The attack Monday occurred at around 8 am, just as school children arrived with their parents. According to witnesses, the gunman apparently pulled up on the black scooter and began shooting at an area where primary-age children would be dropped off by their parents. According to witness accounts, he shot at everybody in the area, including kids and adults. The students fled into the school as the gunshots were heard. Some say he used a 9mm gun, but then the weapon jammed and he switched to a .45 calibre weapon.

Over 60 officers, including some anti-terrorist specialists, were brought on the scene earlier in the week to investigate the other shootings, and were quickly on the scene, but could not arrive in time to stop the suspect. Several helicopters scanned the area for most of the day, while France Prime Minister Fillon said extra security would be put in place at all schools and religious buildings.

This is the third attack in a short time in the southern part of France. On March 11, an off-duty airborne trooper was shot dead in Toulouse, on March 15 two soldiers were killed and one more injured while waiting at a cash machine in Montauban, and on March 19 three children and a teacher were shot dead at the Toulouse school. While there’s no definitive evidence that all 3 attacks were conducted by the same person, that’s what it seems so far. This latest attack was the deadliest attack on Jews in France since a 1982 shooting.

Boy Brings Life of Neo-Nazi Dad to an End

How about this one? On Sunday, May 1, a fourth-grader from Riverside, California, took a Rossi .357 revolver out of his dad’s closet and fired it at the sleeping man laying on the living room couch.

The 10-year-old child was arrested for the murder. Tried in juvenile court, the next hearing date is scheduled for July 22. If found guilty the boy will remain in juvenile hall until he is age 18, then he will be placed in another youth detention facility, until the age of 25.

So who was the dad? And why did the boy do it?

According to the court documents, Jeff Hall, who died of a gunshot wound to the head, was a well-known Neo-Nazi leader. The boy also claimed Hall beat he and his mother regularly, and he feared they were going to divorce.

Juvenile court Judge Charles Koosed agreed last Wednesday to delay taking the plea from the 10-year-old. The judge said he and the boy’s attorney agree the child should first have a psych evaluation. Among possible pleas are not guilty by reason of insanity.

The boy’s stepmother, Krista McCary, has been charged with child endangerment and failure to properly store a firearm. Police officers said not only did Hall and McCary keep numerous weapons in the home, but that three of their children knew how to access the .357 revolver that was used in the shooting.

In 2010, Jeff Hall gained media attention during his campaign for a seat on the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside. During his campaign for the seat he was open about his Neo-Nazi convictions. During his tenure at the National Socialist Movement, Hall piloted demonstrations in Los Angeles and Riverside in which supporters yelled “white power” and waved swastika flags while giving the ‘heil Hitler’ Nazi hand salute.

Shooting At American Synagogue

shooting in US synagogueThis last Thursday morning at the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue, in North Hollywood, a gunman opened fire and shot two people in the legs. The shooting happened at about 6:20 am, around the time of morning prayers, and the two casualties were both men in their thirties. This attack happened just 10 miles away from a Jewish Community Center which was the scene of another shooting in 1999. The Israeli consulate in Los Angeles said that the shooter was an African American male wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The man was seen earlier having an argument with two Jews in the synagogue’s parking lot.

Meanwhile, in related news, a U.S. jury indicted James Von Brunn on Wednesday, an 89 year old, World War II veteran, white supremacist, who opened fire inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Brunn killed a museum guard named Stephen T. Johns, before he was shot in the face (thereby incurring wounds from which he survived). He was indicted on seven counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty.
The last time such violence against Jews happened on American turf was in 2006, when a mentally ill gunman burst into a Seattle Jewish center, killing one woman and wounding five others; this attack coincided with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

While these incidents are indeed very frightening, the Anti-Defamation League conducted a phone survey last week – the results of which expressed that anti-Semitism in America is at a historic low, with only 12% of Americans openly prejudiced toward Jewish people. The level of anti-Semitism measured in this survey matches that of the same survey taken in 1998, and is the lowest in the 45-year history of this particular poll. The first time that the survey was conducted in 1964, 29% of Americans were said to have “held anti-Semetic views”.

The poll was taken between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4 and consisted of 1,200 adult participants. It further showed men were more likely to be anti-Semitic than women, and that African Americans had higher tendencies to be anti-Jewish than any other ethnic group in the population.

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