A solemn tribute has been paid to the three soldiers gunned down in the series of shootings in southern France.
Their killer had wanted to “bring France to its knees” President Nicolas Sarkozy told mourners at a memorial service at Montauban near Toulouse. However Sarkozy said that plan had failed as had an attempt to divide the country.
“I have came to bow my head before the coffins of the murdered soldiers,” Sarkozy said. “I have come to offer the nation’s support and tribute to their families, their loved ones and their brothers in arms.”
A presidential election will be held in France within weeks. Sarkozy, who had come direct from Toulouse where a siege of the suspected gunman was on-going, was joined at the ceremony by five other candidates.
But the focus of attention was the three young soldiers killed in cold blood. All of North African origin, the victims were Abel Chennouf, 25, Mohammed Legouade, 23, and 30-year-old Imad Iban Ziaten.