*NEWSBITES

TOULOUSE - A gunman opened fire in front of a Jewish school in the southwest French city of Toulouse, killing four people, including three children.

Witnesses saw the shooter opening fire from his scooter on a group of adults and children outside the Ozar Hatorah school at around 8.15am. The killer then left his black scooter to follow children into the school, before riding away.

The victims are a 30-year-old teacher and his sons, three and six years old, and the school headmaster's daughter, aged 10.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the shootings an "abominable drama" and a "frightening tragedy," while his main opponent for the 2012 presidential election François Hollande said he was going to go to Toulouse "immediately" out of "solidarity" for the Jewish community.

It's the third shooting in the region in the past week carried out from a motorbike. 

On Thursday, a driveby gunman opened fire on three uniformed paratroopers at an ATM in Montauban around 50 kilometers from Toulouse, killing two and critically wounding the other, before speeding away. Four days earlier, a gunman on a motorbike shot and killed another paratrooper in Toulouse. 

Sarkozy said there were "striking similarities" between Monday's shooting and last week's attacks.

According to police officials, the Ozar Hatorah school killer was armed with two guns, one of them matching the caliber of the shootings in Toulouse and Montauban last week.

Read more from Le Monde in French

Photo - 6MON2PANAME

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