The city of Toulouse and the surrounding south western region of France have been put on the highest level of terrorism alert following the shootings of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school.
More than 100 police officers have been sent to the area to hunt for the gunman after the same weapon was discovered to have been used in the killing of three soldiers last week.
Yesterday the culprit escaped on a stolen scooter – its number plate was picked up by closed-circuit TV which also caught the killings on camera.
Jewish community representative Nicole Yardeni said: “He looked very normal, very determined but very normal. He was very calm and very organised, like some one killing animals.”
The soldiers who were murdered were of North African and Caribbean descent and were also shot dead in Toulouse, and the nearby town of Montauban.
One line of investigation is focusing on the far right. A national magazine has suggested the gunman could be one of three soldiers dismissed from the military base in the town in 2008 for neo-Nazi activities (see picture below).
Criminologist Stephane Bourgoin gave his profile of the killer: He said: “he’s a special type. He’s different, not like the mass killer Anders Breivik, or the Columbine killers, but rather he is a serial killer, and in a specific category called an serial sniper.”
Security has been tightened across the region with guards posted outside all faith-based schools as well as all Jewish and Muslim religious buildings. Pressure is mounting on investigators to catch the gunman before he strikes again.