Toulouse School Dead Flown to Jerusalem for Burial

The funerals of three children and a rabbi shot dead by an unknown gunman in Toulouse, France are to take place in Jerusalem in the coming hours, after their bodies were flown to Israel.

The funerals of three children and a rabbi shot dead by an unknown gunman in Toulouse, France are to take place in Jerusalem in the coming hours, after their bodies were flown to Israel.

Family and friends of the four people slain in the attack at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse gather for a ceremony at the Roissy International Airport, north of Paris March 20, 2012.

Israeli police said they expected thousands of people to attend.

A huge manhunt is under way in France amid fears the killer may strike again.

Early on Wednesday morning, French police targeted suspects in a pre-dawn raid, and two policemen were reportedly slightly injured in a shootout.

Also on Wednesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to attend a memorial service for three soldiers killed in two attacks last week which police have linked to the Toulouse shootings.

The same gun and the same scooter were used in all the attacks. All three soldiers killed were of North African descent. Another soldier from the French overseas region of Guadeloupe was left critically ill.

The attacker gunned down Jonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old rabbi and teacher of religion, his two young sons Arieh and Gabriel and then - at point blank range - the head teacher's daughter, seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego, in Monday's attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Their bodies were carried out of Ozar Hatorah school on Tuesday in two black hearses and taken to a nearby airport, reported the Agence France-Presse news agency.

A military jet then flew them to Paris, from where they were placed on a commercial flight to Tel Aviv, AFP said. They have now arrived in Israel.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was to accompany the relatives of the dead to the funerals in Jerusalem.

Mr Sarkozy and the Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande will attend the memorial service in Montauban for the three soldiers killed in last week's attacks.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National, will also be at the service.

She is often associated with the more controversial debates on immigration and her presence will be closely observed in light of recent events, reports the BBC's Christian Fraser in Toulouse.

Scarlet alert

On Tuesday schools across France held a moment's silence to remember the victims of the killer, whom President France Sarkozy branded a "monster".

About 250 investigators are pursuing two main lines of inquiry - an Islamist motive or the far right.

It is the first time in the country's history that the national terror alert has been raised to "scarlet", its highest level.

The measure enables the authorities to disrupt daily life and implement sweeping security measures. These include mixed police-military patrols and powers to suspend public transport and close schools.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant has said the killer had a camera strapped to his chest and may have filmed the shootings.