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France ups terror alert to highest level in region hit by school

Updated: 3:18 p.m. EST

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says authorities are raising the terrorism alert to its highest level across a swath of southern France where a gunman opened fire on a Jewish school before fleeing.

The president also announced a minute of silence in all French schools for Tuesday and said the state would throw its entire weight behind the investigation.

One of the weapons used Monday was the same used to kill three paratroopers in two different attacks in the Toulouse region last week, according to investigators. Those two deadly attacks in the same region last week killed three French paratroopers and left another seriously injured.

The motive is unclear, but all the targets apparently have been ethnic minorities.

Four shot dead at French Jewish school

Prosecutor Michel Valet said a 30-year-old man and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons were killed in the attack just before classes started at the Ozar Hatorah school. He said another child, between 8 and 10 years old, was also killed, and a 17-year-old seriously injured. Sources say the school custodian may have been injured as well.

“The drama occurred a bit before 8 a.m. A man arrived in front of the school on a motorcycle or scooter,” Valet said, adding that the man got off his scooter outside the school and opened fire. “He shot at everything he had in front of him, children and adults,” he said. “The children were chased inside the school.”

Officials say the shooter fled the scene on a scooter.

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